September 27, 2008

Piggy Toes

Here I am, playing "piggy toes" with sweet Therese.

You know, you only get to snuggle up and play piggy toes for so long in a child's life. I savor these days.

When Fighting Breaks Out in this Household...

...medieval and pirate gear seems to be the paraphernalia of choice.

Meeting Catholic Icons

We had a chance to meet some of our favorite Catholic speakers and entertainers at the Catholic Family Conference in Elgin, Illinois, this summer.

The Leones shared a dinner table and fascinating conversation with the amazing Fr. Loya on the first night of the conference. Here is a photo of Anna Marie and Fr. Loya, directly after dinner.

In the second and third photographs, Andrew has a chance to meet the Donut Man and help him do some entertaining.

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere!

My brother, Tom, together with his wife and children visited us one week this summer. With our five children and Tom's six children (plus one on the way), it made for a full, fun, noisy, and highly memorable week. The kids are already counting the days until they can get together with their Idaho cousins again!

Trivia question: How many cousins are there in the Latham family?
Answer: A mere 22, with more on the way...

September 25, 2008

How to Butcher a Rooster (or How Joe Butchers Four Roosters)

I guess we're moving out of the "wanna-be a hobby farmer" category, with the recent butchering of our four roosters.

If you're faint of heart, ignore the following series of pictures. But for those who want to see how Joe skinned the cat (or butchered the roosters), here you go... It wasn't exactly pretty, but it did work. We dined for two nights on the fruits of Joe's labors.

Skinless breasts might be the way to go next time. Plucking was not a favorite part of the routine for Joe and William.

Chasing Chickens

The kids are pretty much having a field day -- every day -- with the poultry in the yard.

The chickens have been part of our family now for almost seven months. We're getting six to seven eggs a day from our eight hens. They've been a great addition to our little homestead.

The big issue is going to be figuring out how to incorporate Joe's dream bird-hunting dog into the family...

Self-Sufficiency is a Beautiful Thing

Some people ask, "How do you do it with five kids?" "Do you ever have time to breathe?" "Aren't you constantly doing things for the kids?"

The truth of the matter is that it gets somewhat easier as the numbers increase and the big ones get older.

Case in point: One rainy Saturday, Anna Marie (almost 12) and Kathleen (10) decided that the unfinished basement could be vastly improved. While their amazingly dutiful parents were upstairs folding laundry or -more likely- putting together a year's worth of homeschool lesson plans, the industrious Leone girls busied themselves building a basement swing for their younger siblings--one big enough for all three little Leones to ride at once.

While we might have wondered why it was so quiet for that hour or so, far be it from experienced parents to interrupt blissful solitude with needless inquiry.

Disclaimer: Industrious energy in basement building projects does not necessarily predict industrious zeal in school work.

Sweet tooth acting up? Kathleen will cure what ails you.

Kathleen is rivaling big sister Anna Marie for the title of Master Dessert Baker in the family.

Latest concoction: Smores Pie. Mmmmmm....

Let's just say we're all hoping Kathleen put that recipe in a safe-but-handy place.

Pest control problem? We have your girl.

Have some uninvited pests in your home? Insects, spiders, ants? Rodents, perhaps?

Just call our Anna Marie.

Unafraid, undeterred, she'll catch any living thing that finds its way into your abode.

Witness the trapped ground squirrel which she caught in our home this summer.

How did we end up with a ground squirrel in our house, you ask? Ahem. Please ask that question of William and Andrew, primary culprits of the leave-the-door-open-every-time-you-walk-in-the-house routine.

September 1, 2008

Summer in Whitewater

We spent a good bit of time at Joe's family's cottage on the lake in Whitewater this summer. With talk of selling the property, we are getting in our last hurrahs. This photo montage displays the great fun to be had "at Whitewater."

Joe's mom and his sister Cathie with little Therese:

Uncle Lou teaches William to play tennis:

Uncle George takes Andrew and Therese for a walk:

Therese loves the ride from atop Daddy's shoulders:

Conked out on Daddy's back:

William takes great pleasure in manning the wheel of the boat:

Kathleen takes a turn at the helm:

Anna Marie takes over so Uncle George can get back to his beer:

Uncle George has to pay attention again. Andrew is at the wheel!

Even Therese gets a turn:

Andrew gets Oakley outfitted in a life jacket on the floor of the boat.

Ahoy Matey, it's Captain Therese!

Kathleen and William get ready for their wild ride:

The kids play on the Whitewater lawn:

Kathleen and Grandma Carolyn:

Joe and his mom:

Stone Ground Flour, Anyone?

We recently purchased a manual mill for grinding our own wheat berries and other grains. It complements the electric mill we already owned, and gives us some self-sufficiency in the event of a power outage. Joe got his work out grinding the wheat berries after this photo was snapped. We all had fun taking turns and seeing how long we could crank that flywheel.

It's All About the Hair

Therese showing off summer pig tails and Andrew showing off a summer buzz cut...

We Offer Protection Services

Should you find yourself in sudden need of a warrior, a ghostbuster, or a damsel-rescuing knight, just contact Masters William or Andrew. You'll find them ready, willing, and able to take on the dastardly doers of the world (at least the imaginary variety).

Bon Appetit!

Mr. Andrew, our resident four-year-old, likes to eat summer sausage atop chocolate donuts. He's been a real gourmet health nut from day one.