Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Things for Friday, 58th Edition


Just had to throw this one in because it was so cute.

So someone told me I had to start mentioning the downsides of living in Iowa because I was making her want to pack up and move. So, to balance the score, I will try.

Besides being so far from family (which is a big one) the things that have been the biggest adjustments have been:

1. No Mountains. I didn't realize how accustomed I was to them until we moved out here. It is really disorienting to be without them. In Utah you always know which way is East because you can see the mountains wherever you are. Out here everything is flat and full of corn and so it is so easy to get turned around. The first week we were here I got lost on the interstate and ended up driving in exactly the wrong direction for almost an hour before I realized that I didn't recognize any of the town names. It took me nearly three hours to get home because I couldn't figure out which direction I needed to be going! I am getting better at navigating without mountains, but I do miss them.

2. High utilities. I have been shocked at how much our water and our electricity bill are here. The electricity I can almost understand because we have been running our air conditioner often, but the water bill is crazy. This month our water and sewer bill was $150. We don't water our lawn here and so that is just for household water! I thought that there had to be something wrong, that maybe we had a leak or something, but our neighbor said that her bill is usually around $200 a month for water and sewer. It is just so ironic to me that out here where water is much more plentiful it costs SO MUCH more than when we lived in the desert. From what I can gather the reason that water is so much more is because it costs so much to treat it. I guess that all the fertilizer that runs off of the farmer's fields  pollutes the ground water and rivers and makes clean water harder to come by than out west. And according to the guys at Jon's work the farmer lobby is so strong here that it would take a lot of people complaining to get things changed.  Maybe I should start complaining.

3. Lots of bugs. As I was spraying myself down with bug spray the other afternoon I joked to Jon that it was "Iowa perfume." There are lots of bugs, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, more flies, and more mosquitoes. It is a bit annoying.  But I guess the flip side to that is that there are also fireflies. Which are just about pure magic.

Totally enthralled with the fireflies


Speaking of bugs and magic. Our trees are full of cicadas. Cicadas hibernate for 11- 12 year stretches and this year is suppose to be the year when they hatch out. I haven't actually seen one yet but every five minutes or so our yard buzzes with a strange metallic sound coming from the tree tops.

It is really the most amazing sound I have ever heard.  If you don't know what I am talking about you can watch this video, it sounds just like our backyard.

The sound just doesn't even seem natural. Almost like there are aliens invading our backyard or something.  It is bizarre!

Sometimes living here feels like we have moved to a whole different country.


I think we might have a bit of a chicken obsession going on at our house. My kids spend at least one or two hours a day outside playing with them. They take them on walks, push them in the swing, tell them stories, sing them songs, and chase them over and over and over again. 

Asher our "chicken whisper"

The other day we pulled up to our house after being away for a few hours and discovered that our yard was COVERED in chickens. In addition to our nine chickens there were about 15 new chickens running around. I guess that Jon had told a friend we would take a few of their extra chickens and they just dropped them off in our yard while we were gone. It was crazy chicken chaos.

And Asher was in heaven. He jumped out of the car and immediately spied a small black chicken with  feathers on its feet. "OH, OH, OH," he screamed, "It's just so, so.... CUTE!" And off he went chasing it around the yard. I'm afraid it hasn't been left alone since.


Our homeschool is still going strong. The kids have really been loving the "Sing, Spell, Read, Write" curriculum and I am so impressed with how well they are learning their letters. Asher especially has been doing great. He didn't show any interest in letters or reading before we started a few weeks ago and now I find him trying to sound out words and sounds all the time! It is really kind of exciting.

We also did a "Me on the Map" activity that Asher loved. He really got into drawing maps of where we live. They also learned our address so, as Asher said, "If we ever get picked up by a police man we won't be lost."

Jon's summer work party was at the Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University.  They have the most wonderful butterfly house (and lots of good butterfly activities and resources on their website). We had been to the gardens before (when we first moved here) but the kids loved it just as much the second time. I was impressed at how much they remembered about butterflies. It was also sweet to see them walking around with their magnifying glasses.




I think the biggest challenge to our home school has just been that I am so tired. I haven't really been adding much more in besides just our math and reading activities. Though we do read a lot of books. I checked out a stack of books about invertebrate animals (octopuses, starfish, crabs, jellyfish, worms, etc...) and the kids have been loving them. We talked about the way animals are classified by if they have a backbone or not. It has been really cute to see them get so excited about all the backbones they can feel on our animals. I went out the other day and saw Asher showing Rose how to feel the vertebrates in the chicken's necks and explaining to her that he had a backbone.  And then Rose came up to me the other day and asked me,  "Mom is a monkey an invertebrate or an outvertebrate?"

I think she's getting the basic idea, right?


We also just finished reading "Charlotte's Web" and it happened to coincide with our county fair. The kids were excited to go and see if they could find Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton.

They didn't, but they did see the pigs get a bath which was fun.

And they spent way too much time in the chicken house, big surprise.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

I think we are off to the pool tomorrow to try to see if we can get this baby inside of me to flip around. She is breech right now, and has been for a few weeks. I've heard that breech babies sometimes turn if you do  handstands in the water. I figure it can't hurt!


  1. I had stubborn breeches and transverse lie babies my last three of five so far. I had alignment issues with all three and also tried a lot of advice on spinning no matter how ridiculous they sounded.Bt adjustments helped and muscular releases as well. All went head down five days,two weeks, and two days respectively before labor. And they weren't too small either, 8.14, 8.8, 9.8 lbs. P.S. We love our chickens too.

  2. Chicken envy! I wish we could have chickens, but we live just inside city limits with our property backed up against the acres and acres of corn. And 'farm animals' are not allowed within "city" (population 719)limits, nevermind that we can see and smell a pig farm from my back deck.

    When we moved to Minnesota, I had to use the water tower to help orient me about which part of town I was in....totally get what you're saying. Wait until you start to figure it out, and then it's winter, with snow and the landscape has totally changed, and you're all disoriented again. :)

    Love the cicadas and fireflies too. :)

    Hoping and praying baby goes head down soon! How far along are you now? (My first went breech in the hospital after my water had broken, while I was in the rocking chair. Have had five c sections now.)

    1. I am 34 week, so she still has time to turn but it would be nice if she'd do it sooner rather than later! And great idea about using water towers! I hadn't thought of that.

  3. I love seeing your posts from the midwest! It makes me so homesick. :) Fireflies are one of the things I miss most in the summertime. It almost makes me want to deal with the humidity again just to have them. Almost. ;)

    I was back there the last time the cicadas came out! You're so right, they're really almost otherworldly. Thanks for sharing all your adventures with us. Best wishes with the pregnancy, I will be thinking of you! ♥

  4. You've probably already heard of this,but here's the only "flip the baby" trick I know:
    You get a really warm towel--fresh from the dryer, for instance--and a bag of frozen peas. Put the towel down on the lower part of your belly and the bag of peas up top. The idea is that the baby will try to get away from the cold and go toward the warm.
    I have not actually tried this myself, but a friend of mine did and it worked for her. For what it's worth... Good luck!

    On another note: I lived in the Midwest for 10 years before moving to WA state. I remember the cicadas! The funny thing was I would get so used to them that I would start to tune them out. So in the fall when they stopped it took a minute to figure out what the difference was: oh--it's quiet!