Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Answer for When We Get to our First Stop and the Kids Ask, "Mom, Why Did You Pack Chicken Food in the Cooler?"

So, I was at one of the Kardashian mansions the other night.

No one was home but me. I had to use the restroom, and as I pulled my jeans down (but not my underwear) the family came home. The mom (Kris) very rudely opened the bathroom door without knocking, surprising us both. She immediately closed it again, but unfortunately it was one of those half doors. Only the bottom part closed. The top remained open as the whole family marched down the hall, past the bathroom in which I stood, laughing their full heads off.

Apparently, I have spent way, way too many hours in the checkout line at Meijer, because all of their faces on the "magazines" have gotten to me. It's the only defense I have, because, honestly, WHO IN HER RIGHT MIND HAS A DREAM LIKE THAT?!?!?!

Seriously, though, the dream is, in fact, part of a conspiracy put together by my children, reality celebrities (apparently), and the government (because what's a conspiracy without the government?) to keep me sleep deprived.

I was already getting to bed late, seeing as how the high school play was this past week, and my high schoolers have lots of friends in the play and wanted to go to all three showings of the THREE-HOUR LONG play that ended at 10:00pm each night.

Cuckoo might have been the ringleader of the conspiracy. He has been quite creative in his pleas for help this week. One night, at approximately 3:17:44, he called from outside his door. When I got to him, he wanted me to know that his thumbnail hurt.

And then another night I had another odd dream.

I don't remember all of it, but I do remember that Bryan and I had a big fight. He really wanted Star to be able to play another sport this spring, on top of the other activities already going on around here. I was adamant that no such thing was going to happen while I was the mother in the house. I ended up crying, because we never, ever yell at each other.

I woke up to Bryan holding me and whispering in my ear that it was just a dream.

Seems I was actually crying out loud, too.

Guess why else Cuckoo woke me up this week.

Go ahead.

Guess.

(I hate that game, so I won't do what my kids always do to me and actually make you guess.)

I was awakened at 2:04:58 one night by Cuckoo, who believed that his brother was breathing too loudly. (Who, in reality, was breathing quite normally and quietly, thank you very much. (I checked))

The point to this post?

Go back and read the title.

I've gotta get ready for a road trip!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thankful Doesn't Even Come Close... TToT Week 91

I would like to scream from the rooftop, but our roof is really steep and really tall. I'd like to not die more than I'd like to scream from the roof, but I am THRILLED with the weather this week!!

SPRING IS MOSTLY HERE!! I know we'll still have some cold days. Perhaps even a bit more snow. BUT it won't be as frigid as it was a few short weeks ago. And the cold that does come won't last for long.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about the two days of sun and 58 degree temps we had this week.

More signs of spring!!

Bryan and I have been talking about plans for the near to not-too-distant future, including moving to a new house. In less than 6 years, we will be down to only 2 kids living in our house year-round. We won't need all of this property, and it would be nice to live near school.

But then the two days of beautiful weather came. The little boys were outside every single available minute during those two days, even when I was inside making dinner. They found "a pretty place" in a dead, fallen down tree. They explored the fields and climbed on trees and jumped in puddles. They got filthy and had a blast.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about the opportunity our kids have to grow up in such a safe, fresh-aired environment.

Turken's schoolwork from last week. He had to write some sentences and underline the verbs, then draw pictures to go with them. He wouldn't know anything about the speed of a pig if we lived in a neighborhood. And  I think we all know where he got his mad illustration skills.

With the warm weather came the melting of all the snow. And rain. Lots of rain. And with that rain and melting snow came mud. Lots of mud.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about the two truckloads of gravel that were dumped all along (most of) our driveway, ending the reign of muddy terror ruling over the floors of my house and van.

This was at 10:00 in the am, after most of the fog had burned off.  It's amazing how fog can make anything look like a horror movie.

Because of the trees growing over the drive, the truck couldn't dump the gravel all the way around the circle or on the turnaround section.



Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about the kids and husband I have who can help with the spreading of the gravel.


The chickens have been cooped up (in the coop) for weeks, seeing as how a foot of snow and below zero temperatures aren't the best for bare little chicken feet. The warm weather meant the girls and their one suitor could get out into the fresh air.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about the dogs not knowing that the gravel dump broke their line, seeing as how one chicken was practically begging to be eaten. (Remember our last flock was wiped out in a matter of hours when Roy figured out the line had broken while we were on vacation.)

That's a chicken. On the pig fence. One hour after I had caught it on the other side of the pig fence and put it back in the chicken pen. She had to run past the dogs to get to that pig fence.  Dogs who were watching every move she made.
There have been a couple of rainy days this week, too. As in moisture falling from the sky all day long. While 50 degrees is wonderful when the sun is out, 50 degrees and rain is not. No playing outside in that mess.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about my kids' ability to amuse themselves when trapped in the house.

He made that entire thing by himself, following the 60 steps in the instruction book. It took him the entire day.

Spring break is coming! Remember last year, when the kids, my mom, and I got in the van and left for vacation with absolutely no plans? We are kind of doing it again. We were just going to rent a house in Gatlinburg for the week, but the temperatures are supposed to drop. We need to go farther south for warm temps, and we won't stop until we find them. I found one place in the Blue Ridge Mountains where we can ride horses and stay in a yurt, so I'll be making reservations to stay there one night. I'll have each of the kids do a bit of research and pick one thing he would like to do.

Thankful doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling about our ability to take these trips with my mom and write the stories we'll be retelling for decades to come.

During our trip, I'll post on Instagram regularly. Bryan and my dad will want to see proof that we aren't living in the van down by the river, so you might as well follow along, too.

If you remember last year's trip (Can you even believe it's been an entire year?!?!?), you won't be shocked to learn that the kids have added a new rule about the trip. There will be no out of the way stops to simply see a river even if it is the biggest river in the US meeting up with one of the next biggest rivers in the US.

Whatever.

It seems the loosey goosey TToT co-hosts are rubbing off on me. I don't know where my numbers went, but surely I have 10 thankfuls in here.

It's your turn! Numbered or not, what makes you want to scream "THANK YOU!!" from the rooftop?

Have a lovely day!


Ten Things of Thankful


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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There Are Some Odd Days on the Calendar

When I was 16, my mom's husband was transferred to a different state. He moved several months before she did, which left two cars in Ohio that needed to be moved to Kentucky, and only one adult to do it. I became the second driver.

All I had to do was follow my mom for 6 hours on the freeway. It really wasn't all that difficult.

Until it was.

We came across construction, and there was one serious traffic jam. One car cut in front of me, getting between my mom and me. Then another. Those cars let others in. More people cut in. Within minutes, my mom was completely out of sight. I had no idea where she was.

There was no such thing as cell phones.

We had no navigational systems.

Shoot, I didn't even have any information about our final destination besides "somewhere in Louisville".

For the first time in my life, I was in one real, major panic.

Of course, these days, there would be no panicking in such a situation. Cell phones and navigational systems have taken away these fun rites of passage.

I don't get whipped about much, but in the right circumstances, I can be thrown into a panic in the blink of an eye. Just like I was back on that freeway when I was 16.

According to Lisa and Rabia it is World Panic Day, which cracks me up. Who comes up with these things? And how should one celebrate such a day?

I guess, as a blogger, you make a list. I am joining in with their Tuesday 10 and listing the things that make me panic.

1. Being unable to find a child where I expected him to be, including, but not limited to, the back seat of the van. Thankfully, these moments never last more than a minute, but those are the longest minutes of my life.

2. That feeling when I'm in public and my feminine protection isn't protecting like it should. It is quite difficult to be nonchalant so as not to attract attention while at the same time wanting to scream, "For the love of all that is holy, where is the closest bathroom?!?!"

3. Looking out the window and seeing a pig in the yard. Really, any time a pig gets loose.is a good time to panic. That's a whole lot of money running around all willy nilly like the world outside it's pen is a safe place to be.

4. When Bryan is out of town overnight, hearing an unfamiliar sound coming from downstairs. These are the nights I rue the day I ever watched a scary movie. Or the morning news.

5. Being 20 minutes from home and thinking, "Did I turn the stove off?"

6. Being 15 minutes from home and realizing I left my phone on the kitchen counter.

7. Walking down our wooden staircase, that moment when my foot slips and I go down. In those few milliseconds of being airborne, I flip out and pray that I don't hit my head and die. No joke. That has always been one of my biggest fears. I would fall and die and my little kids would be home all by themselves until Bryan got home. Even though my kids are now plenty old enough to call for help, the thought still flies through my brain before my butt hits the ground.

8. Preparing a meal, I knock a sharp knife off the counter. Thankfully, my feet have always been fast enough to dodge it and avoid the horrific bloody mess my brain envisions during that second it takes the knife to fall.

9. When one of my kids falls backwards off of a tall slide, landing on his back. I totally forget to assess the situation to see if he can move on his own before snatching him up and holding him close. It's only happened once, and I don't ever need to see that again.

10. When it gets late, late, late, and I need to go to bed, but I HAVE TO FINISH THE POST because I won't have time to write it in the morning and if it isn't done in the morning it won't get done in time to put it in the link-up and I'm not about to waste all this time I put into writing the first 9 things on the list!

So there.

To ease your mind, I'll let you know how the driving to Kentucky fiasco ended up. With tears in my eyes, I just pulled off the next exit. I figured I'd just sit and wait for her to find me.

My mom got off at the same exit.

We were reunited within 10 minutes.

You turn. What makes your blood start pumping and horrible thoughts race through your head?

Happy World Panic Day!

Make it a lovely one.

The Golden Spoons

Friday, March 6, 2015

I Wrote This in 20 Minutes. TToT #90

It is astounding what one change in the routine can do!

And I'm not even talking about Nephew being here. That was nothing.

The car in which the teen who takes our teens to high school broke down.

And it took three days for it to get fixed.

What happens when the high school kids don't have a ride?

I have to get myself and Cuckoo out the door to take them at 6:30 am.

You know what I normally do from 6:30-8:30, when I normally leave to take Cuckoo to preschool?

Feed and water chickens, shower and get ready, read blogs and FB while eating breakfast, get a load or two of laundry done, make my bed and tidy my room, write my to-do list and gather the things I need to do those to-do items, clean up the kitchen from breakfast, cuddle with Cuckoo when he naturally gets up.

All of those things had to either get done before 6:30 or not get done at all.

For three days.

And to top it off, there were odd practice times and a preschool open house and a birthday dinner and a night when Bryan wasn't going to get home until 10:30, so I was running around even more than usual in the afternoons and evenings.

But really, who isn't busy and who wants to read a blog full of complaints about how busy the blogger is?

NO ONE!

So, I'll just get right into the point of this whole post.

The Thankfuls:


1. I am SOOOOOOO ridiculously, gloriously thankful that the teen's car didn't break down last week when I was taking care of the almost two-year old nephew. That would have broken me into teeny tiny microscopic pieces.

2. I didn't have to take the kids to school on Friday, and Cuckoo doesn't have school either. We got to stay home all morning to play some games and get some cleaning done.

3. On Saturday last week, the kids and I spent a lot of time getting their rooms clean. And I mean behind the bed, under the bed, pull out the dressers to clean behind them, get that crap out of it's hiding place in the closet kind of clean. I now go stand in the big boys' room and just smile. It's been my happy place this week.

4. I failed to add this into last week's list, seeing as how the cats and Nephew had my brain all befuddled. We had white chili for dinner, which always makes me think of my best friend ever. As I put the ingredients in the crock pot, I gave her a call. She happened to be home, and we had a lovely, long chat.

5. With the driving of the kids to school this week, Cuckoo and I had an hour and a half between their school start and his. We went out to breakfast each day, and one of them was with a good friend of mine.

6. Bryan received the best news possible at work. It means we won't have to make a horribly difficult decision about his job, and for that we are both relieved.

7. Both of the cats have been spotted! Once (if) the weather warms up and we can be outside more, we're hoping to see them more. Eventually, we hope they will learn to trust us and let us hold them/give them flea meds/take them to the vet.

8. I have gotten some very helpful ideas for my A-Z Challenge idea, but I could always use more! Give me some problems you are having with your kids/teens and I'll see if I can come up with ideas to help you with them. Or, some of my readers who have been there/done that will be able to help. I'm looking for ideas to ease parenting troubles just as much as I want to help other parents.

9. Birds have been chirping. I've seen rabbits and squirrels in my yard. Snow has been melting, causing our usual spring mud and flood. It is March and Spring is Coming!

10. Buttercup had her 15th birthday on Wednesday. I just love that girl to pieces.

So, how has your week gone? What big or little things do you want to say thank you for?

Link 'em up!

Don't forget to change your clocks!

And have a lovely day!


Ten Things of Thankful


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Some Alphabetical Ideas Would be Great.

I'm taking a risk.

It's not a big one, but it is a risk nonetheless.

I am going to do the A-Z Challenge in April.

A post every day of the week except Sundays.

Each of the 26 posts is assigned a letter of the alphabet, and the post must revolve around it somehow.

I did this challenge a couple of years ago, and while it took a lot of time, it was a lot of fun. Plus, I met a lot of bloggers, some of whom I consider good friends now.

This time, though, I'm going with a theme to make it easier.

I think I'm going to go with a theme.

I threw out "Phrases that Are Getting Old and Bug the Poo Out of Me" for a variety of reasons.

While I do wish people would stop saying "taking it to the next level" when talking about absolutely everything, it seemed like a whole lot of negativity crammed into one month.

Speaking of poo, I could probably come up with 26 different encounters with poo, but that's just too much poo for one month. Although, the titles could be fun.

I thought of doing something bizarre that's never been done before, like 26 uses for an old umbrella, but that would take work. Our broken umbrellas really only have one use. They pretend to be fully-functioning umbrellas until it rains and I take one out of the trunk and get soaked because one arm is broken in half.

26 Ways to Embarrass or Annoy Teens could be fun, but the kids would end up hating me by the end of April.

Between raising 6 kids and teaching and coaching and leading teen groups and taking photos of kids and volunteering in a wide variety of places with kids, I've learned a thing or two. But since giving unsolicited advice in person is a bad idea, I never get to share my hard-earned wisdom.

There is no such rule against giving advice and sharing wisdom on one's own blog.



So, in the spirit of doing what people on the internet do, I'm going to go with "Tips and Tricks and Ideas to Make Working with and Taking Care of Kids Easier". 

Perhaps someone will find something useful.

Yes, I realize half (if not more than) my readers aren't taking care of kids on a daily basis.

For you, I will be putting stories in with the tips and tricks and ideas to keep it interesting. AND I ask that you stick around and give advice and ideas in the comments pertaining to each day's topic.

So... I've been coming up with a list in my head about the topics I'll cover. Based on the alphabet. I've hit a few snags.

I could use some help.

To my readers who have kids, little or big, do you have something which is giving you headaches? Is there an area in which you could use some ideas?

Perhaps something that starts with Q? Or K? Or U?

Please let me know. 

We'll see how this all shakes out.

Have a lovely day!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

View from the Driver's Seat, Photo Blogging Challenge

This month, PJ assigned us the task of posting 5 photos with the theme of Winter.

Since we've been having a very mild winter snow-wise this winter, I couldn't count on snow providing me with pretty photos to take. I decided to get a little creative.

I shall dub this photo series "View from the Driver's Seat".

NOTE: Every photo I took for this series was while my van was stopped. I live in the country, in the middle of sparsely traveled roads, so it is perfectly safe to stop in the middle of the road to snap a photo. All photos were taken with my phone while I was heading yet another place with the children. I have not used a filter or touched up any of the photographs.




With early sunsets and late practices, we frequently get home well after dark.



We did get plenty of mornings that started with ice on the windshield.



Winter always means filthy cars, thanks to the salt and slush. Trips to the car wash are more frequent.






We finally got snow later in the month. Day one was ridiculously windy and cold, and completely unpredictable. The above photo was taken less than 20 minutes before this one:



 I love the look of snow blowing across the road or forming mini tornadoes in the field.

And then 2 days later,


snow.

Lots of it.



After brushing, before wind-shield wiping.

I spend a lot of time in the car driving kids hither and yon. I normally just take a little mental photo of the pretty things I see. I am grateful for this month's theme, as it forced me to slow down and really look at the scene unfolding outside my windshield.

If you would like to join in this month, head over to PJ's to link up.

If you would like some notice for next month's theme, join the Facebook group.

And with that, I hereby call for an end to winter!

Have a nice day!

Friday, February 27, 2015

We've Had Some Visitors. Some Stuck Around Longer Than Others. TToT #89

A little music for you to enjoy while you read.


My almost 2 year old nephew is staying with us for a week while his parents are out gallivanting around Hawaii. If it weren't for his obsessive need to slam every door in the house and his penchant for waking before the rooster, he'd be the perfect guest. The thankfuls:

     1. The big kids are enthralled with Nephew. They are having a ball playing with him when they come home from school.

Turken wants to hold his hand whenever we go somewhere.

      2. Cuckoo is getting a turn to be the "big brother". Our world doesn't stop just because a two year old is in the house waking up at 5:00 in the morning. Cuckoo has been invaluable in helping to keep Nephew occupied while I run down to the basement or out to the chicken coop for a minute.

     3. Nephew falls asleep on his own without a lot of fanfare. I'm not one for fanfare at bedtime.

     4. This experience had helped me get over that "I want another baby" mood I was in. Yeah, I'm getting too old for chasing a toddler all day and night. I can be patient and wait for the grandkids to come.

Other non-Nephew thankfuls...

5. We've had quite a bit of sunshine. The cold is really, really cold, but it doesn't seem so bad when the van is warmed by the sun before we get in it. Sitting on the hardwood floor to play a game is actually pleasant when I get to sit in the ray of sun coming through the window.

6. I have a few events this spring which will require wearing a dress, including our school's 50th Anniversary Dinner this weekend. I managed to find one, even with Nephew in tow.

7. The library is open and has things to keep kids occupied when we have time to kill before picking someone up from practice.

8. When I was in Ohio helping Grandma move, I would find myself wandering around the house, looking at everything I've known since I was born. I kept asking myself, "What should I take? Grandma will give me just about anything I want." I wanted it all, and I wanted nothing. It was a very strange, overwhelming thought. I left Ohio with nothing but memories.

And then my mom came to drop Nephew off. She came with a van full of boxes of things Grandma wanted me to have. (Long, boring story about how my mom came to have them. Just go with it.) There were toys from the basement toy closet. There was the flier from my induction into the National Honor Society from 1988. There were baking dishes of all sizes. All of the photos of my family (including my senior photo) from her wall of grandkids were in there, too. The best, though, were the pots.

When my oldest aunt was 9 months old and my grandpa was making all of $2/day, my grandma made (what I think is) the only splurge purchase she'd ever made in her life. She paid $100 for a set of pots.

I used one of them to make dinner Thursday night.

The beginnings of Shepherd's Pie
9. I do like Shepherd's Pie, and some of the kids do, too.

10. Oh, the song from the beginning? It may or may not apply. Time will tell. It just popped into my head when this happened:

Short story: A grandma asked me to take a couple of cats. I was clear that cats do not last long at our house. They either get eaten or our dogs scare them away. She said she was OK with that. The cats were 2 of 6 strays someone took in but now needed to get rid of. I can't say no to a grandma apparently, because on Thursday I brought 2 cats home from preschool.

I took the carrier out to the barn and opened the door to it. One cat immediately took off like a shot, darting outside and off into the trees. The other took time to sniff around, including around the door to the chickens. I went out to see if I could catch a glimpse of the first cat. When I returned 45 seconds later, the first cat was gone.

We haven't seen them since.

They haven't been back to eat the food we left with the carrier.

It's been a high of 14 degrees, so I'm not going to sit outside and try to find them.

I don't really know if we have cats or not.

The thankful?

They are the easiest animals to take care of here on the farm!

UPDATE: One cat did stick around and is living in the barn. I just saw it sunbathing up against the wall.

So, what do you have to be thankful for this week?  Be a dear and let me know in the comments or by linking up!




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