Sunday, November 29, 2015

It Would be Silly to Miss the TToT on the Biggest Thankful Weekend of the Year, TToT 128

We're home safe and sound, so I can finally sit and go through the good things that happened this week.

1. On Monday, I was able to have a birthday lunch with my used-to-be-living in Japan friend. We see each other for approximately 5 minutes each day at pickup, when we can give quick little updates about our days. It was nice to have plenty of time to really chat and hear the full stories of what is going on.

2. On Tuesday, the 8th grade had it's Thanksgiving feast. I was able to work it, seeing as how I don't have any kids at home with me during the day anymore. I'm finding those silver linings, small as they may be.

3. I've gotten most of the photos I had printed organized and into albums. Our mothers were thrilled to receive albums with all of the pictures taken on our trip to Disney.

4. We made it to Canton in normal time. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a crap shoot as far as time in the car goes. One year, it took us 12 hours to make the 6 hour trip. No snow and no backups and no 5:00 traffic in Columbus meant we made it to Grandma's house when expected.

5. The dessert I made for Thanksgiving made the trip unscathed. It was fragile and on ice in a tote, since we don't have a cooler that can hold a 9x13 pan. I was quite worried about it. But, it made it, and it was enjoyed by everyone.

6. I actually remembered to bring everything we needed for the trip, which is pretty astounding, as I was mostly in charge of Thanksgiving for my family and had lots of things on my list.

7. Thanksgiving for my family was more difficult and problematic for many reasons I don't feel like going into. In the end, it everyone had a great time, the food was plentiful and good, and there were delicious desserts aplenty.

8. On our way home, just before getting to the outskirts of Indianapolis, we spotted a police car with its lights flashing. In front of it, stretching for half a mile, were cars on the shoulder with their hazard lights flashing. Every one of the 15-20 cars had at least one flat tire. Apparently, something was scattered on the road, causing major problems for holiday travelers heading home. While I feel bad for every one of them, I am so, so thankful we were in the other lane and didn't hit whatever it was. Changing tires on a 12-passenger van is no fun. Changing tires on a 12-passenger van in the dark, in the rain, with 6 kids inside and a husband who doesn't do well with these sorts of situations is just plain miserable.

9. I managed to find our Advent wreath minutes before we sat down to dinner. Sure, I forgot to buy purple candles for it, but we still said a prayer and read from our Advent devotions book. I'll get some candles tomorrow. :)

10. CYO basketball is very popular here in Indy, but the number of gyms in which to practice are few. This means that as kids get older, their practices times get later. High school players get the most bizarre time of all. Star's practices are 9-10 on Sunday nights. I couldn't be happier that Bryan volunteered to be his coach, because it means I never, ever have to take the boy.

Your turn. How was your Thanksgiving and the weekend that followed it?

There's still time to link up!

Have a lovely day!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Forty-Four Years of Being on the Right Side of the Grass, TToT Week 127

It was a good week for a birthday.

One good thing about Facebook is it lets everyone know about upcoming birthdays. The many, many birthday messages I received made it a happy day online! (Even better when a friend writes a post all about birthdays and includes me!)

So, my thankful list this week has some mentions of my birthday, but there's more. Lots more!

1. All of the paperwork and background checks have finally been completed, so I was able to volunteer at a local public school twice this week. As I've mentioned before, the southside of Indianapolis has one of the largest, if not the largest, populations of Burmese refugees in the country. More than half the students in this particular school have parents who don't speak English, so I go in and simply chat and read with some students who are having trouble learning to read and write. It is exactly the type of thing I want to do with my time.

2.  I am thankful to live so close to a growing, popular big city. We live in the boonies, so we get to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, but close enough to the city that we can take advantage of all the things going on there.

3. Things like national gatherings... Buttercup was able to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference. 25,000 teenagers from around the country (even from Hawaii!) descend on Indy every two years. It's a heck of a lot cheaper for kids from Indy, seeing as how they don't have to fly or stay in a hotel. They don't lose out on the experience, though. Instead of coming home to sleep, our parish's kids and chaperons camp out in the gym of the high school.

4. There are lots and lots of restaurants from which to choose on those rare occasions that Bryan and I get to go out. Last night we enjoyed a meal at an 80 year old Italian restaurant downtown.

5.The opportunities to be entertained are plentiful. For my birthday (yesterday!) Bryan and I went to see Martin Short and Steve Martin perform. We laughed and laughed throughout the show.

6. On Friday, I had a nice, long 2 hour lunch with Kris. (Remember Mrs. Always Random??) She and I have birthdays within a week of each other, so we try to get together to celebrate each year. This year all the celebrating we could swing was lunch and some chocolate chip cookies, but it was so nice to visit with her and the sweet little boy her family fosters.

7. The weather was great, until it wasn't. The beginning of the week was lovely, but by the end of the week, there was some nasty, cold rain coming down. I didn't have anywhere to go until school pickup on the worst day, so I stayed home under my blanket.

8. Bad weather means I can get stuff done in the house, but I hate to clean, so I spent the time catching up on printing photos. I have spent hours and hours and hours going through the photos on my computer, choosing the ones I want printed, and downloading them to the photo site to print. I have gotten all of 2012, half of 2013, half of 2015, and all of our vacations since 2012 done. Now to get them into albums...

9. I spent all of those hours getting as many printed as I could, because I had a 40 percent off coupon that expired yesterday. When one is printing almost 1,000 photos, one could really use that 40 percent off. To help, there was a mix-up with one of the orders, so the clerk gave me an extra $10 off, and another clerk gave me a $5 off coupon. I'm getting these suckers done for a bargain!

10. The first snow of the year was on my birthday.

Normally, I'd complain about such a thing, but the flakes yesterday were beautiful through the window.

Cuckoo was ridiculously happy about the snow. He had his snowpants and boots on before the flakes were even hitting the ground.

Notice, no gloves

But that simply meant he was ready when the snow really started coming down.

Now notice, one glove. His hands were getting cold, but he has a teeny, tiny boo-boo on one finger. Guess which hand. :)

And best of all, it all melted before Bryan and I left for our evening out. If it was going to snow, at least it was the best kind of snow.

So, how was your week? Did you get any snow in your neck of the woods?

Have a lovely day!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ups and Downs in a Belated Quick Takes

Normally, this is called Quick Takes Friday, but the link is still open, so I'm doing it today. Lots of little things to tell you from the weekend...

****************** 1 ****************

The sunrises lately have been stop-ya-in-your-tracks stunning around here. Have you been seeing them where you are?

******************** 2 ***************

It's only taken about 4 months, but it seems our dogs have come to some sort of truce with the cat. She is hanging out around the house all the time now, and the dogs haven't chased her away.

She's sitting on the steps outside the mudroom door. The dogs are sleeping a mere 15 feet away. 

******************** 3 ****************

I ran into one of the parents of one of the several 13 year old boys that spent the night on Friday. He said his son proclaimed that night to be one of the best in his life. From the sounds of it, the game they played outside in the dark (I don't know what it was, but it had the word presidents in it, and it meant a whole lot of running around with flashlights. I heard them and saw them from through the window.) was the best part.

Although the mishap in the morning might remain more memorable.

A raccoon was smack dab in the middle of our driveway.

Everyone, including Bryan and the kids, went outside to see why it was there. They didn't get far off the porch when someone started driving up the driveway. (A parent to pick up one of the boys)  Everyone went running towards the drive, yelling and waving for him to stop. The driver was so busy watching everyone, trying to figure out what they were doing that he never saw the raccoon. Thump-thump went the raccoon.


***************** 4 **************

At about 2:00am, I was semi-awoken in the middle of a dream by Bryan, who was moaning that he was hurt. I didn't think much of it, seeing as how I was still asleep and all, until this morning. I asked how he was feeling, referencing the sore throat he's been fighting. He said his throat was better, but his eye was still hurting. That dream I was in the middle of when Bryan woke me up? Someone had thrown a ball to me, and I reached out to catch it. Apparently, it wasn't just in my dream that I reached out. When I went to catch the ball, I nailed Bryan right in the eye.

I will no longer complain about his stealing of the comforter.

******************** 5 ***************

I have a turkey cooling on the counter as I type. We have a lot of grocery stores around here, and they are always competing for business. Last week at Meijer, I could get a turkey for 42 cents a pound if I spent $20. I spend $20 within the first 2 minutes of being in the store, so I picked up a turkey. I'll be cutting it up and freezing it to make lots of dinners this winter. I'll probably grab another one today to cook on Wednesday. Bryan was surprise when I told him how cheap it was. He heard there was a turkey shortage and prices were going to be higher this year. How are the prices where you are?

******************* 6 ****************

Bryan and I get invited to events (through work) all the time, and he has almost always turned them down. When the kids were younger, it was because the hassle of a babysitter was not worth it. More recently, it's because they require black tie (Bryan didn't own a tux.) or our weekends were full with activities with the kids. Things are changing, though, and we decided to start attending a few things. Saturday night, we went to a black tie fundraiser.

We had loads of fun.

His firm is celebrating 60 years, so the Christmas party is going fancy. We'll be repeating this look, except hopefully a bit more relaxed and less rushed, in three weeks.

********************** 7 ***************

And while we were getting all gussied up, the little boys, thanks to Buttercup, were getting all fancy themselves.

I do believe he's trying to look like a tough football player.
Can you see that she didn't confine the paint to his face? That would be a football upright on his chest, and on his back it looks like a jersey, with "Luck 12" written on it.

That little bat on the bottom has Cuckoo's bellybutton as its face. On his back is a gigantic black bat.
Gotta say, I'm glad I wasn't there to have to wash it all off.

And lastly, can you even believe that we're all outside in the middle of November, without long sleeves, not freezing to death?


Have a lovely day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

On the Road to Recovery. TToT Week 126

I rose the white flag.

Threw in the towel.

Cried Uncle.

Packed it in.

After 10 days of this nonsense, I was done!

It is astounding the amount of snot one person can produce.

Shocking, really.

After defiling the contents of two and a half boxes of Kleenex and a partial roll of toilet paper, I finally went to the doctor for some help.

Amoxicillin to the rescue!

1. I am thankful that we live in an age in which we can go to the doctor and have medicine in our hands within minutes. I'll be feeling fine in no time.

2. I am thankful that we live in an age when some stores give medicine away for free. No joke. I went to Meijer pharmacy to fill my prescription. When I got to the checkout, it came up that I owed nothing. I looked quizzically at the guy and said, "It's free?!?!" He replied, "Yes. It's one of our 6 medicines we give away for free." What the WHAT?!?! I don't understand it, but I am liking it.

3. I am thankful that my kids rarely get really sick. Apparently this Meijer free meds policy has been around for years, but we have not had the need for antibiotics in our house since Turken was a baby and got constant ear infections.

4. I am thankful that I have at least one kid who takes oral hygiene seriously, to the point of keeping a tooth brush at school in order to brush after lunch. It proves it is not my fault that at least one of my kids doesn't give a flying fig about oral hygiene.

5. I am thankful for a warm house with warmer blankets. I've been awoken in the middle of the night a couple times this week (Someone explain to me how a laptop in my bedroom suddenly bursts into song at 3:00 in the morning!), and as I tried (in vane) to go back to sleep, I listened to the wind howling outside, warm and cozy in my bed.

6. I am thankful for generous people. My job at the crisis pregnancy center this week was to organize donations. I was blown away by the amount of brand new, adorable clothing donated to the center for the babies and children who are in need.

7. I am thankful for my kids' ability to choose kind, fun, responsible friends. As I type, I am listening to Giant and some of his friends who are here for the night. Every one of them is sweet as can be, polite, and a breeze to have at our house.

8. I am thankful that my kids are realistic and forgiving. We have three kids with birthdays right in the thick of soccer season. It is virtually impossible to have any sort of celebration with their friends anywhere near their birthdays. Shoot, we have a hard enough time finding a night just to take the birthday child out for dinner with the whole family. This get-together tonight is Giant's very delayed birthday party. (He was born on Sept. 11.)

9. I am thankful that our internet and tv are not linked together. The wind took out the satellite today, so no tv until they can fix it. The world wide web, and in turn the TToT, is a go!

10. I am thankful for friends, both long-time and new. Did you see I "met" a blogger who just bought a farm without having any farming experience. (She interviewed me here.) Plus, they have been remodeling the house before moving in, and the girl knows how to refinish floors!

Gotta run. A bunch of 13 year olds have invaded my space.

Your turn. What made you smile this week? Link up or tell me in the comments.

Have a lovely day!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Someone Asked Me for Farming Advice. No One Is More Surprised Than Me.

I have a new friend named Ally. Ally and her husband have accidentally become country folk by buying a 20 acre hobby farm. Sound familiar? Yeah, we have some things in common.

Ally is scouring the internet, looking for tips from people who have been there, done that. 

As you readers know, I most certainly have been there, done it wrong, and redid it. Ally had some questions for me, and then she went and posted them on her blog, The Speckled Goat.

If you'd like to read the interview, head on over by 


Have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quickest TToT Ever! Week 125

Sliding in with little time to spare...

1. I am thankful that Phoenix and Turken were home sick on the same day, so I could still go to my volunteer hours.

2. I am thankful that when I got sick two days later, I was able to do minimal work and rest.

3. I am thankful that Bryan waited until I was feeling a bit better before he got sick. I could do the running around to soccer games while he rested.

4. I am thankful we both felt better and could go to a casual event at the high school with a bunch of friends. We had a great time.

5. I am thankful we had fantastic weather most of the week, even if I couldn't go out and enjoy it. At least we didn't have to freeze our backsides whenever we had to leave the house.

6. I am thankful Phoenix can drive, seeing as how I can't be 3 places at the same time.

7. I am thankful my kids are happy to eat pasta every night of the week if necessary.

8. I am thankful that soccer is finally officially over for the season. No more games until spring.

9. I am thankful for sunshine on chilly days, as it keeps the car I'm sitting in toasty warm while I wait for another soccer game to start.

10. I am thankful for friends who suggest a late breakfast after the last soccer game at a new-to-me restaurant.

11. Bonus! I am thankful that every once in a while, one of my kids still wants to cuddle on the couch. While I'm not happy Cuckoo was having nightmares, I am happy that we got to cuddle on the couch for a while like we did when he was smaller.

12. Bonus 2! (I really should think these through a little bit longer before I start typing.) I'm thankful for little boys who are still learning vocabulary. Cuckoo came to me yesterday and said, "I have lungs on my tooth". After some question and answer time, I figured out he didn't mean lungs (duh) but gums. He has a new molar coming in. :)

How's your week been? What are you thankful for?

Have a lovely day!

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things Could Have Gone Way Worse, Halloween TToT! Week 124

Happy Halloween!

I actually get to be happy for it this year, seeing as how it's on a Saturday. Normally, we have to race to carve pumpkins, eat dinner, get dressed up and head out to trick-or-treating in just a few short hours. And then, upon returning home, rushing the kids through their candy gazing and grazing in order to get to bed at some resemblance of a decent hour so wake up for school isn't a nightmare.

Not so this year!


If you could all cross your fingers and toes for us, that would be great. We're supposed to have rain much of Saturday, which would really put a damper on the outside fun and fright we have planned for Star and his friends. Thanks.

This week was full of gross, scary things perfect for Halloween...

1. I got a phone call from school, and, as any mom of school-aged children knows, a call from school in the middle of the day is never, ever a good thing. This time, it was because Cuckoo threw up in class. I picked him up, and he vomited over and over again throughout the day. I am thankful that he is a rock star at predicting it. He hit the bucket every single time, so I didn't have any extra laundry to do or floors to scrub.

2. I sat down to send some emails, but when I wiggled the mouse to turn the computer back on, I got a black screen with warning words on it. (You know that screen? The one where the computer forgets that it is in the year 2015 and reverts to the look of a computer from 1984.) Turken had tried to get on a site for school and done something horribly wrong. Thankfully, computers of 2015 are way smarter than in 1984, and smarter than me for that matter. It was able to diagnose and fix the problem all by itself.

3. It's Halloween and I haven't purchased or made a single costume. I haven't really even asked any of the kids what they want to be beyond Turken getting ready for his dress-in-a-costume soccer practice last week. Things could have gone really, really wrong. Thankfully, we have a box full of costume bits in the basement and kids with good imaginations and low expectations. While I was outside, Giant and Cuckoo got themselves dressed up for trick-or-treating.

4. In the town where I grew up, many years ago they decided that trick-or-treating would always be on a weekend during the day, regardless of when Halloween actually fell. Yup, they really know how to suck every bit of fun out of an exciting experience for kids. I'm thankful that where we live now is old-school. No trunk-or-treat. No daytime nonsense. Here, kids get all dressed up and go door-to-door to talk with the neighbors and have fun getting to be out walking around at night.

5. Thursday after dinner, I turned the kitchen faucet on. Instead of clean water flowing out, it gurgled and spewed black nastiness all over the sink and me. The black stuff was followed by brown water. All the sinks, all the toilets had nothing but brown water. We let the water run and run, we flushed and flushed, but it wouldn't go away. I called the water company, but apparently it wasn't an emergency. Nobody called me back. We used bottled water to brush our teeth. The next morning it was still like that, except now all of my sinks and toilets were stained brown. I called the water company again, and she said they were flushing the lines yesterday. If I run the water for 10-15 minutes, it should be fine. I ran the water for 20 before it started to look better, but only the cold water. I then had to empty the water heater, seeing as how that filled with the nasty brown stuff. It took until about 2:00 in the afternoon to get all the water from all the faucets and toilets cleaned out. But, I'm thankful that we had water, even if it was brown. At least we didn't have to start using the outhouse.

6. I lost my sunglasses. I hate driving without my sunglasses. It hurts my eyes. (Did you know that blue-eyed people are more sensitive to the light? (Science fair project knowledge comin' at ya, right there.)) This isn't the time of year that sunglasses are displayed for purchase everywhere, so I went many days without them. And then, a friend text me and said she found a pair of glasses in the couch cushion. Exactly where I had been sitting when I went to meet and cuddle her new baby. Eureka! Now, I just need to find some time to go pick them up...

7. This summer, I had a good list of families purchasing eggs. I never had to turn into crazy egg lady in order to get rid of them. Unfortunately, I've had to disappoint all of those new customers and tell them no more eggs until spring. The chickens have gone into their annual freeloading phase for the winter. No eggs for you! But, with 25 chickens, we are still getting 4-8 per day, enough that I don't have to buy them unless I want to hard-boil some.

8. Star has 8-10 boys coming over for a small Halloween party tonight. I have always wanted to have an all-out Halloween party, seeing as how we have the absolute best property to have a good one. It's never happened, though, for a variety of reasons. I'm using this as a practice party to see if we can have a bigger one next year. We're having a big bonfire and I mowed a maze into our back field. We'll be sending the boys through it, in the dark, two-by-two, with only one flashlight per pair. My family (except for Star) will be hiding in the tall weeds to jump out and scare the boys. I can't wait to see how it goes.

9. I have been on the ball this fall getting neglected projects done. On Friday, the Tub Doctor was supposed to be at my house at 10:00 to strip and reglaze our tub. He didn't get here until 1:30 and finished up at 7, as we were eating dinner. It completely messed up my plans for the day, but my tub is now done. He did a great job. And, he completely looked, sounded, and talked like Zach Galifianakus. It made me smile to talk to him.

10. My oil light in the van came on every time I accelerated from a full stop. I called my mechanic, seeing as how we're such good friends (He knows my voice.), and he told me either I needed oil desperately or I needed a new engine. I could not for the life of me find the dipstick to check my oil, so I ran into a JiffyLube. I felt better (and less like a dips***) when it took 3 guys who do this for a living to locate and remove the dipstick. It was bone dry. No oil whatsoever. Zip. Zilch. Nada. This makes me nervous, because I'm good about getting my oil changed regularly, but I'm glad that it was a simple fix for now. I won't be breaking down in a blaze of glory somewhere on IN-135.

And that's 10.

Anything scary happen to you this week?

Have a great time trick-or-treating or passing out candy or eating candy or partying or whatever it is you plan on doing today/tonight.

Link up your thankfuls if you have them!

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