Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Storm Cancelled Halloween, So Here's Some Highlights of Our Week

I'm linking up with Jen and the many other folks doing some quick takes.  I'm so predictable.

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

We had our big home soccer tournament last weekend.  11 games in 3 days, plus 4 volunteer shifts.  During one of the games Phoenix went to get something from the concession stand.  He came back with this:

I immediately thought of Lizzi and our conversation last week about the US's obsession with all things fried.  There you go, Lizzi.  (And everyone else unfamiliar with fair food)  Behold the elephant ear.

He ate the entire thing.

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

In Star's last game of the tournament, he was playing an undefeated team for the championship trophy.  At halftime, we were up 1-0.  The other team wasn't really happy about it.  As the second half progressed, the opposing coach, parents and players got more and more vocal, and not in a good way.  The center ref was passing yellow cards out left and right, because kids were actually yelling things like "Are you blind?!?"  The attitudes went south, and the parents even started cheering when a player received yet another yellow card. 

Our families and players were surprisingly calm and didn't say a word.  Until...

One opposing player was getting more and more upset, and at one point he purposely kicked the ball out of bounds (which players normally do in a regular game).  The problem is, he was only a couple of feet from the sidelines and he kicked it as hard as he could.  The ball hit a spectator right on the side of her face.

The refs stopped the game to check on the woman and talk with the boy.  No card was passed out, but the parents were mad.  One person actually yelled, "Oh, now we're not allowed to use any force when kicking the ball?" 

One of our parents couldn't take it anymore.  He yelled back, "Hey!  He just hit an old lady in the head for no reason!"

One of the refs came over and told everyone to calm down and take a seat.

It was a horrible situation.  One of the worst I've ever seen on a soccer field.  Yet only one thought stuck in my head. 

I leaned over to my friend standing next to me and said, "Wow, that poor woman probably isn't happy that he just called her old."

************* 3 ************

Cuckoo is convinced that Santa lives, not at the North Pole, but at COW's office.

Last Christmas time I dropped the five oldest kids off at his office so he could take them to a Christmas show.  Cuckoo and I went on a date of our own.  The next morning, the kids were talking about seeing Santa and sitting on his lap.  Ergo, Santa must live at COW's office.

Tuesday Cuckoo had a date with COW, so I dropped him off at the office.  COW actually had to take Cuckoo on a search for Santa, looking in every office they passed.  In one office, they found a man (one of the partners of the firm) in a white shirt and red tie.  COW immediately dubbed him "Elf" and told Cuckoo to tell the elf what he wanted for Christmas.

"I want a Target suit, a running and flying duck, a running and flying dog, a chair, and a lamp.  Not a big one, but a small one like that."  He pointed to the partner's lamp.

With a smirk, COW pulled rank and told "Elf", "Well, he wants your lamp.  Hand it over."

Everyone in the office is laughing about it, and I will not be surprised if Cuckoo receives that very lamp on Christmas morning.

************* 4 ************

For their date, COW and Cuckoo went to the opening Pacer's game.  (That's basketball for all you non-fans.)  Before the game even started, Cuckoo saw the cheerleaders.  I got a text from COW.

"Just told me the cheerleaders look naked."

They got home well past his bedtime, but he had to tell me all about his evening.  At one point, COW prompted him to tell me about the cheerleaders.  Watch, and then I'll translate.  (Yes, that is me in the pink robe.  When it's cold, I wear two pairs of socks, PJ pants, a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and my robe.) 


Cuckoo, embarrassed, whispered in my ear:  They were naked.
Me:  They were naked?
C:  No, it just looked like they all were.  They had underwear on.  And that thing you wear.
Me: *laugh*
C pulling at my shirt to show me:  That thing your wear under your shirt.
To the cheerleaders and all other women who go out in public so scantily clad, I'm begging you.  Put some clothes on.  Even a 4 year old knows that what you are wearing is inappropriate, and he is embarrassed for you.
************* 5 ***********

On Thursday (Yes, Halloween), we finally had time to pick out pumpkins to carve.  The wind was at a steady 35mph, everything was wet from earlier rains, and there was a bit of spitting rain as we looked for someplace to buy pumpkins. 

The farmers' stands were all closed, thanks to the weather.  Grocery stores had already taken their pumpkin displays down.  We parked at our last grocery store option, and I told Buttercup to go scout it out before we all got out of the car.  (She is most trustworthy in such situations.) 

She got back in the van and said, "Well, I saw one boy carrying a pumpkin out, so they must be there somewhere.  I didn't see them."

I told everyone we were going in when Buttercup continued.  "This is going to be just like those people who wait until Christmas Eve to get their trees and come home with the tiniest, spindly tree because that's all that's left."

As I laughed at her analogy (because I was afraid she was right) she then said, "Why don't we go there?" and pointed across the street.

We drive this road approximately 500 times each week, yet I completely forgot about the place across the street.  It is a freakin' farm with a corn maze, hay bales, and gobs of pumpkins.  AND an indoor place to pay.  They were totally open.

So, we got back in the van and went across the street to buy some pumpkins.

We chose, we paid, we loaded into the van. 

I realized we didn't get any photos.

Four kids were good sports and got out to re-enacted some pumpkin choosing.

Phoenix practicing his juggling skills.  Turken showing off his inability to put his jacket on the right way.

The hair is the first clue that it is ridiculously windy.

Yes, Cuckoo is wearing an undershirt as a regular shirt.  He learned it from watching cheerleaders.

Did you notice the kids were in short-sleeved shirts??  The wind brought some lovely 62 degree temperatures.  I can live with wind and rain if it means 62 degree temperatures.

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

Commence pumpkin carving.

Cuckoo wasn't about to touch his pumpkin once the top was cut off.

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

I've bored you enough.  Hopefully I'll see you this weekend at the TToT hop!

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Should Have Eaten a Blizzard and Read a Book

On Monday night, I had one whole, kid-free hour and one half of another hour to kill while Star had basketball practice.  I decided to go shopping for school pants for Turken, and brown dress pants and a bra for me.

This is how my free hour and a half went down:

Boys' department, second floor
One wall of school pants.
Sizes 4,5,6,7,8
Slim, regular, husky

Choose size 5 regular

Ladies' department, first floor
Various brands of pants scattered throughout the floor
Sizes 4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18
high-waist, mid-rise, low-rise
straight-leg, boot-cut, skinny, flare
crop, floods, ankle length, heel length
modern fit, boyfriend, curvy, trouser
corduroy, houndstooth, stripes, plain

Grab 10 in various sizes and colors, head to the fitting room
too tight in the rear, too tight in the thighs, too short, looks ridiculous, ugly, has that damn gap on my back for the kids to toss quarters into
Sweat buckets and sit for a spell to recover from the exertion
Leave all 10 pairs in the fitting room

Lingerie department, first floor, in front of windowed entrance from parking lot
various brands boxed, hanging, lying on tables
Sizes 32,34,36,38
Cup sizes A,B,C,D
wire or no wire
padding or no padding
lace or no lace
wide straps, thin straps, no straps, 5-way straps
pink, nude, black, white

Grab smallest one that doesn't say "training" (My girls may be small, but they're already trained), head to the fitting room
too tight around, too loose in the front
Cry when realize size 36 H(alf-filled water balloon) would be the perfect size
Leave bra in the fitting room

Slog out to van carrying one pair of school pants

Decide my one pair of well-worn black pants and three stretched-out, thinning bras are perfectly fine.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

TToT, Week 21 - The Laughing Edition

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.
-- Eileen Caddy
There has been lots of joy and laughter this week, so my entire list will be about things that made me laugh.  I am thankful for all of these small moments.
1.  The shoes Dyanne found for me.
2.  Turken's observation that "Our daddy is the only daddy we know who doesn't have hair."  It's because your parents are the oldest amongst your classmates', Dear.  One day soon you will have to say, "No, they aren't my grandparents."
3.  Giant's costume of choice for this year's Halloween Night at soccer practice.
For those of you who don't live in the US and have never seen the commercial (or you live in the US, but don't watch TV), go here.  (It is a commercial that makes COW giggle every single time he sees it, and he's seen it at least 100 times.)
4.  The soccer dads who stood around the field and harassed Giant the entire practice.  It seems all dads find this commercial to by hysterical, as these guys loved the costume.  Every time Giant would run past, one of the dads would yell something out.  Perhaps it was, "Jake!  What are you wearing?"  Giant responded without breaking stride, "Khakis".   And when someone yelled, "Jake!  You sound hideous!" Giant would yell back, "Yeah, I'm a guy!"  I was laughing the entire hour of practice.
5.  Cuckoo, who wanted to dress up just like Giant.
His version.  Red shirt, name tag, phone, ball under the shirt to make a beer belly, and boots (because he doesn't own dress shoes).
They went around dressed like this for an hour before practice.  The entire time, no one referred to either of them as anything but Jake, Jake from State Farm. 
His belly was so big, he had trouble seeing the stairs as he walked down them.
To quote Giant... "We sound hideous."
6.  Buttercup's school conference. Parent-Teacher conferences at the kids' school are student-led meetings.  The child comes prepared to tell us his/her strengths, challenges, goals, plan to overcome challenges, and things parents and teachers can do to help him/her.  Buttercup (well, all the kids, really) did a great job coming up with insightful thoughts, until the last bit.  When she got to what COW and I could do to help her achieve her goal of higher grades (She currently is sitting on the high honor roll, which means a grade average of 95% or higher) is to get her a desk.  She could hardly say it with a straight face.  She's been half-heartedly bugging us about getting her one ever since we set on up for Phoenix.  The only child with her own room is wanting a place of her own to do her homework, and if she tells her teacher it's what she needs, then we must get it for her.  That girl is a sneaky one.
7.  The most epic end to a game of War I've ever seen.  Cuckoo and I were playing (because it's his favorite game), and he was beating me quite handily.  (He had all the jokers and aces.)  I had a small handful of cards left when we came up with a war.  Three cards down, one up, ended in another war.  Three cards down, one up, and we had another war.  And then a third war.  Which led to a fourth war!  I was down to three cards, so we put two down, one up and got A FOURTH WAR!!  But since I was out of cards, I couldn't continue.  He won only because I had to forfeit.  All my cards were taken in one massive round.

8.  Introducing Lizzi to Paula Dean and the US's love affair with butter and fried foods.  It seems we in the states are the only ones who have state fairs with fried Oreos, Twinkies, candy bars, soda pop, and butter.  I think the fried butter put her over the edge.  Or perhaps it was the elephant ear.
9.  After coming in from getting the mail, having Phoenix see me carrying the new phone book and yell, "The new phone book's here?  I'm somebody now!"  The boy has never seen the movie, "The Jerk", yet he is able to quote lines from it like a pro.  Either it's in his blood, or I quote that movie way too often.
10.  Watching the kids playing in the leaves.  It is fall, so that means we are back at raking Mrs. G's leaves.  While that doesn't make me laugh, the kids can. 
Your turn!  What joy and laughter have you had this week?
 Have a lovely day! 

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Halloween, I...

watched our dog give birth in the front yard.

When we adopted our dog, (a stray which had shown up at our friends' house) the vet said she couldn't tell if the dog had been fixed or not.  We never saw any indication of the dog going into heat, so we assumed she was fixed.

We were wrong.

(You aren't surprised in the least, are you?)

Four years after adopting her, on October 29th, 2008, I noticed that Brownie seemed to look a little thick around the middle.  I just kept an eye on her to see if she would get bigger.

She didn't.

Two days later, on Halloween morning, Brownie didn't come when I called her. 

After a bit of searching, I finally found dear Brownie in the big barn.

She wasn't alone.

My mouth dropped farther open and my language got worse as I counted.

One... awwww, isn't it cute?
Two... Oh, that one is even cuter!
Three... How many puppies are normal in a litter?
Four... An overachiever, are you Brownie?
Five... Are you kidding me????
Six...  What am I going to do with all of these puppies???
Seven...  Son of a $#$%^!
Eight!!!!  *&%$!!!!!

How in the name of all that is good did my dog give birth to EIGHT puppies?  And on an unrelated side note, how did I not notice she was pregnant until two days before she delivered EIGHT puppies?!?!

I brought Brownie some food and water and left her to care for her babies.

A little while later, I saw Brownie out in the yard.  She was squatting, and I thought, "Huh.  I certainly couldn't go to the bathroom that soon after delivering one baby.  How's she doing that after delivering eight?"

And then I saw her turn around and pick up the "poo" she had just deposited onto the yard.

She hadn't just pooped, SHE'D DELIVERED ANOTHER PUPPY!

NINE!  NINE puppies!!!

Only at my house could a dog deliver NINE puppies.

Brownie was a good mom and took fabulous care of her ridiculously large brood.

Thankfully, from the beginning, she let us hold and play with the puppies.  The kids were in heaven.

Buttercup loved them the most.

Turken was only 6 months old when the puppies were born.

He never cried when the puppies were crawling all over him.  Of course, he never smiled, either.

In the end, we found homes for 6 of the puppies.  One disappeared at 4 weeks of age, we thought because it was taken by a hawk or other wild animal.  Two years later, we found out that lost puppy had actually shown up on the doorstep of a house half a mile away.  The family ended up keeping him. 

To find out what happened to Brownie and the two remaining puppies, you must read one of my first posts.  You will not be disappointed.  It is horrifying at first, but ends up so funny I cry every time I tell it.  (Being one of my first posts, it isn't written all that well.  Sorry about that.)

We still have one of those puppies.  Her name is Hershey, and she is as wonderful a dog as you could ever hope for.  Every year, at some point during our race to get everyone home from school, homework done, fed, dressed up, trick-or-treated, candied up, and into bed, we remember, "Oh yeah, it's Hershey's birthday today," and give her an extra pat on the head.

 To see how other folks finished the sentence this week or to link up your own Halloween story, head on over to any of the following ladies' sites:

Your Hostesses:

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stuffin' the Sausage

Can't wait to see the folks Google sends my way with that title.

I'm going to be all up in your face with a farm update today.

First, did you see what my freezer looks like these days?

The pigs are home where they belong.

On to the garden...

I went into the mud room on Saturday and found this:

COW had been in the garden and harvested everything that was left out there.

Apparently he found some carrots.

And these...

were out there, too.

Who knew?

We spent Saturday night turning that sink of green into this:

We blanched them, dried them, and bagged them for the freezer.  They will be used to make some good meals this winter!

Thirdly,  the girls.

We have found a chicken outside the fence a couple of times.  As soon as I get out there to put her back in, she does this...

I'm thinking once we identify which ones are doing it (There are 30 chickens, and most of them look alike!) we'll take a try at clipping their wings.  I'm sure that will go well and completely excitement-free.

And lastly, it is the biggest news on the farm as far as COW is concerned. 

With the freezer full of ground pork, COW has been able to pull out his birthday present to make some sausage links.

The boy could barely contain his excitement.

This is a (long) video of COW and the little boys adding the spices to the ground pork.  He's giddy, I tell you.  Two things before you watch...

1.  I am in the kitchen making lasagna for dinner.
2.  The recipe calls for 10 pounds of ground pork, but his sausage stuffer only holds 5 pounds.  He is making 5 pounds, thus having to halve the recipe.

Once the sausage stuffer came out, COW was all business and no silliness.  It would be a travesty to overstuff the sausage, so he had to stay focused.

These first links are pretty pathetic.

At one point, Cuckoo and I were scolded for not STOPPING when we were told to STOP!  Unfortunately, one link tragically burst.  It was reincarnated as the link's ugly stepbrother, the sausage patty.

We got the hang of it, though, and were able to put 4 and a half pounds of breakfast sausage in the freezer.  (We had to taste it!)

He got much better at it as we went along.
Everyone is looking forward to breakfast more than ever! 

That's all I have for now.  And since it's getting cold out there, I'm planning on going into hibernation.  Hopefully, I won't have to go outside for any reason until spring.

What are the chances?

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, Week 20

Some people grumble that roses have thorns;  I am grateful that thorns have roses.
- Alphonse Karr

All week long, I have been looking through the thorns to find those roses.  None of the thorns were Big Deals, simply little problems and annoyances which could have added up to a bad mood.   

1.  As many of you know, Phoenix has been having some difficulties and learning some good life lessons this first quarter of school.  One class in particular has been extremely difficult.  It's not that he's incapable of learning the material, but that he has never had to put more than 10 minutes into homework in his life, and he's never had such a demanding class.  The hole he dug for himself in the first weeks of school are just too big to climb out of in the weeks we have left.  So, I am thankful for his teacher, counselor, and his school.  They push the kids and expect a lot out of them, but they are also very understanding and accommodating when there are problems.  Starting Monday, Phoenix will be in a class one level lower than the one he is in now, and his grades from the first quarter will be wiped out.  He has been given a fresh start, and we are all relieved.

2.  Travel soccer parents can be quite intense.  Different teams have different "personalities", and I enjoy some more than others.  Buttercup's team is one in which I do not see eye to eye with many of the parents.  I usually sit off to myself when we go to games.  Buttercup has many friends on her team, but there are a few kids she has trouble with.  Last night, there was a team dinner, and neither of us were looking forward to going.  Before walking in, we agreed to have a good attitude and do everything we could to have fun and use this chance to get to know everyone's non-soccer personality.  I am thankful for the good time Buttercup and I both had.  It started out a bit weird, but we gave each other "We promised we'd try" looks, and ended up having fun.

3.  My normal morning routine includes internet reading while I eat my breakfast and wait for Cuckoo to wake up.  On Friday morning, the internet was down.  I was quite perturbed, since I had a post that just needed read through before I "published" it.  Because I couldn't get online, I had to find something else to do.  I chose to finally go through the photos on my computer and figure out which ones I wanted printed.  I used to be so good at this, keeping all the kids' albums up to date.  I am not good at it anymore.  I am thankful for the internet going down, with the result being me having this job well on it's way to being done.

4.  The four kids in grades K-8 were off school this week, but Phoenix still had high school to attend.  To make matters worse, his days at school were all wonky.  Three of the four were early dismissal days, and one of those days was parent/teacher conferences.  Plus, they all had soccer practice in the evening.  With these conditions, there was no way I could take the five non-high schoolers anywhere far.  I am thankful for the time we had to stay at home.  The little kids never left the house all week.  Spent their days in pajamas even.  We all simply hung out the entire week.  We haven't had that much time to just relax and be "bored" in a long, long while.  It was marvelous.

5.  A very good friend's mom is very sick.  My friend is an only child of divorced parents, so she is having to deal with the problems her mom is having on her own.  This past week was extra bad, and my friend finally realized she needed help.  I am thankful for the resources she and her mother had to find some professionals to get the proper help they need

6.   In all of this, my friend, who hates to ask people for help, was able to identify several things her friends could do, and then actually asked us.  I am thankful I was able to help her when she finally made the call.

7.  My friend needed help this morning.  I was supposed to be taking Giant to a soccer game this morning.  I am thankful for my children's attitude toward sports.  They all know that soccer is simply a game.  It's a fun game that they love doing, but it is just a game.  They know I enjoy watching them play, but there are plenty of things more important than soccer.  Giant had no problem at all with me skipping the game to help my friend.

8.  Of course, his game was two hours away, so I couldn't just drop him off.  I am thankful for his team (which has parents I enjoy) and the willingness of the parents to take Giant for me.

9.  Cuckoo's new favorite game to play is War.  It's a card game with zero strategy, but entails each person to turn a card over.  High card wins that round.  It can take an eternity to play to the end, and it is so mind-numbingly boring, I usually have trouble keeping my eyes open.  I am thankful for the giggles Cuckoo gets each and every time he wins a round (by round, I mean each time we lay a card down.  He giggles a lot.) and for the math skills he is perfecting while playing.  He is a master at greater than/less than.

10.  The cold is upon us.  There is even talk of a chance of flurries next week.  I really, really can't stand the cold.  I am thankful for the heater that works as best it can in a drafty, 150 year old houseI am also thankful for the plethora of blankets we own so I can double up when the heater just can't get the house as warm as I'd like it.

What roses are you thankful for this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Friday, October 18, 2013

] A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Done Really Quick (Takes)

Joining Jen for some quick takes.

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

Normally in October, the leaves fall and cover up all the detritus around the yard we want to ignore for several months.  It's a lovely deal we have going.

This year, though, the falling leaves actually uncovered something we did not want to see,


especially not 100 yards from my front door.  The sight of a constant steam of bees flying in and out of that hive wasn't exactly appreciated, either.

With the kids' voices (discussing a possible reenactment of The Hunger Games trackerjack scene) still in my head, I googled "how to move a bee hive".  Know that I had no intention of moving it myself.  I simply wanted to know how to, and more importantly who could, move it.  I may do a lot of things around here, but moving a bee hive is not one of them.

In my 5 minutes of research, I learned that this is not, in fact, a bee hive, but a "paper wasp nest". 

I thought a beehive in my front yard was bad.  I was wrong.  Wasp is much worse.  Unlike bees, wasps can sting over and over again.  Plus, there's no such thing as a "waspkeeper" to come and take my nest away.  I'm stuck with it, unless I want to climb up and spray the entire thing with wasp killer.  Yes, I can hear you, Dear Reader, egging me on to do it, because wouldn't that make an awesome post!?!?  Yes.  Yes it would.  While I do love you and appreciate your support of my blog, I do not love you that much.

For one brief second I did consider killing the wasps, but I came to my senses.  We have unknowingly lived with this thing since spring (so says my research) without getting stung.  Plus, the colony won't be here much longer anyway.  I'm told (through my research) every one of those wasps, minus the queen, will die come winter.  Miss Queen Wasp will be taking a long winter's nap, then start a new nest somewhere else come spring.

Until that happens, you will find us playing in the back yard.

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

We're in the throes of phonics and spelling these days.  Not because I chose it.  If it were up to me, I'd wait until Cuckoo's and Turken's speech was a bit better.  I don't get to choose, though.  They want to learn. Consequently, we have conversations like this all day long:

Cuckoo:  I can spell "feather"!  F-E-D-

Me:  No, it's not a D sound, it's a T and an H together.  (Then demonstrate how to make the sound and say the word.)



Cuckoo:  I can spell "feather"!  F-E-D-

Turken:  No, you make the sound wif your froat, not your teef.

Me:  Hey, anyone want to play Dominoes?

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

Did you all notice my new photo avatar thing-a-ma-bob?  Buttercup took it for me.

Ignore it.  I don't look like that anymore.

After 8 months or so, I finally had a few moments to get myself a haircut.

The hairdresser and I had a nice, long talk.

Me:  I want my hair, when dry, to hit at my chin.  Not jaw.  Chin.
Her:  Like a bob?
Me:  That length, but with layers.  Lots of layers.
Her:  Long layers?
Me:  No, the top layer should be pretty short.  I don't want to be able to put my hair in a ponytail.
Her:  (measuring with her comb)  Five inches?
Me:  Yes.
Her:  Bangs?
Me:  Yes, that sweep to the side and land at the bottom of my eye.
Her:  I appreciate people who know their hair and what looks best on them.  It's much better than me telling you, since I just met you and your hair.

We were on the same page.  Same wavelength.  Talking the same language.  Simpatico, even.

Until she betrayed me.

And gave me a curly mullet.

Because, clearly, I have done something horribly unforgiveable to Fate, and she believes in revenge.

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

A mom, a grandma, a toddler, and a small baby were at the same park as us last week.  (As I reread that, I see it totally sounds like I should have ended that with a "walks into a bar" joke.) The grandma was in charge of staying with the baby in the stroller, while the mom followed her toddler all over the playground.  When I say she followed him, I mean she literally followed him.  Through the tunnels, down the slides, up the steps.  She even followed him down the climbing mountain thing, but instead of just following him, she held his hand while she tried to maneuver her way down.  It was quite precarious.  The poor boy was dangling by one arm, trying desperately to get his feet down on the little steps, while she slowly teetered down. 

She did not do this once, but several times.

Why do I tell you this?

Because it drove me crazy!!!  It was a week ago, and I am still thinking about her.

I soooo wanted to stop her and tell her to keep her feet on the ground.  Instead of following him on the playground, where she can't move nearly as fast as he can, (because the tunnels were made for kids) and wouldn't be able to stop him if he did get too close to an opening, she should stay off of the playground and firmly planted in the mulch below.  Be at the opening, where there is the slight chance of him falling, so she can catch him.  And when he gets to the wall, teach him how to climb down. 

I so often see parents who simply don't give their kids enough credit.  I have worked with kids for 30 years, and by and large, two year olds are capable of learning plenty of things.  They want to learn new things.  They want to be big kids.  We should encourage it, not squash it. I'm not saying parents should send their toddlers off to explore while the parents sit on the bench.  I'm saying parents should try to teach their young kids how to do things, then stand nearby.  Parents should be in position to actually help the kids, not stumble over them as they try to keep the kids safe. Kids are safer when they are taught how to maneuver, not when their parents maneuver for them.

(After that, you probably won't be surprised to hear that I am against the general use of baby gates on stairs.)
I'm thinking she may have punched me if I said all this to her.  Or perhaps she would have written her own blog post/facebook status update about the witch know-it-all at the playground. 

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

And for a little blog business...

If I comment on your blog, and you see a bracket at the beginning of my comment, ignore it.  I seem to have a stuck button on my keyboard, and every time I start typing, it puts a bracket.  Every once in a while, it will stay stuck and keep typing, like thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, except the bracket and not a letter, until I yell "NOOO!!! and punch the "back" key to beat the bracket back. 
Problem is, I cannot find this particular bracket on my keyboard to unstick it.  All I can figure is it's one of those mysterious keys on the top of the keyboard.  You know, the F keys with clip art on top.  Does anyone actually know why those keys come with our keyboards?

Anyway, sorry for the random brackets.  I'm tired of going back and deleting them, so you're just going to have to live with them.

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

} (Look!  There's one of the crazy brackets I just told you about!)

A remake of the movie "Carrie" is coming out this weekend. 

I don't know about you, but that movie has a special place in my heart.

Yes, I realize it is a terrible horror flick, but it is the movie COW and I saw on our first date.  Neither of us had a driver's license yet, so we went on a double date with COW's good friend and the friend's girlfriend.  The date started at a pizza place, where, in the restroom, the girlfriend told me COW's friend was a jerk, and she was going to be breaking up with him.  The date only got better when we then went to the friend's house to watch a movie.  His parents weren't home, so I had to lie to my dad during my check-in call.  "Sure, Dad, they're here.  Popping us some popcorn as I talk!"  Everyone took his seat for the movie.  Jerk Friend sat in the recliner, Jerk's girlfriend sat in a rocking chair, which left the couch for COW and me.  The movie started, (I had never heard of it.) and the first scene is of a girl who got her period for the first time being bullied by a bunch of mean girls in the locker room.  As the movie went on, Jerk's girlfriend angrily rocked in that rocking chair, and by the end, the chair had skootched practically all the way out of the room.

Remarkable, really, that we ever went on a second date. 

And 26 years, 6 kids later, the movie is back.  I wonder where Jerk and his girlfriend are and if they will be seeing the movie.

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

Speaking of 'versaries, Wednesday was exactly the three year anniversary of my first blog post.  I wrote for about 6 months, didn't really enjoy it, so gave it up for Lent.  Then two years ago, I jumped back in.  I changed my attitude and expectations, and haven't looked back.

I've seen that lots of people do something special on their "blogiversary", like a big giveaway.  I just did my first "giveaway" a few weeks ago, so I don't see that happening.  Sometimes bloggers do a big "about me" post.  I've been trying to come up with an idea for a new "about" page for weeks, but can't come up with a doggone thing.  So that "about me" post is out. 

I guess all you get is a "Hey!  It's my blogiversary!"

There are lots more (and better) quick takes over at Conversion Diary.  I'm sure Jen would be thrilled if you went and took a look.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We Almost Died in a Corn Maze, but Lived to Have Some Fun

Every single year, as Autumn arrives, I dread three things:

1.  Cold weather
2.  Spider infestations
3.  Corn Mazes

I do not, in any way, shape, or form, understand the appeal of corn mazes.

Honestly, who ever sat looking at a field of corn and said, "You know what that field needs?  A maze." (I hope you read that with a nice, full, redneck accent.)

Obviously someone who has never heard of those millions of science experiments done with mice.  I'd bet a million bucks, the mice are not enjoying those little "races" through their mazes.

And clearly, the person never saw the movie "Children of the Corn".  That movie kept me afraid of corn fields for decades.

Or "Field of Dreams".  Sure, it's a sweet, inspirational movie, but ghosts come out of the corn field.  That's just creepy.

Unfortunately, my children have never heard of mice maze experiments or seen "Children of the Corn".  They think those corn mazes are brilliant and beg to go to them every single year. 

Usually, I have no trouble telling them a big, fat, NO!

This year, something went very wrong.

With Phoenix in high school now, the kids' breaks don't always line up.  October break illustrates this perfectly.  Phoenix had break Friday and Monday.  The other kids are on break from Monday through the rest of the week.  Between the messed up schedules and soccer over the weekend, it left us with one day together to do something fun.

I decided we'd go to a little town to which we'd never been about 45 minutes away from our house.  In the heart of town is a gigantic apple orchard.  Those who own that apple orchard actually hire a well-known corn maze designer (WHAT??  THAT'S A PERSON'S JOB?!?!)  to create a new design for them each year.  In my IneedtomakethisdaythebestIcanformybabies soft heart, I agreed to let them do the maze.

Wanna see what the maze looks like from an airplane?

That little square in the bottom right is the start/finish area.  It reads "Beasely's Corn Dog.  Who Rescues Who.  And there is a somewhat distorted drawing of a wiener dog.  (That is the scientific name, isn't it?)  Beasely's is the name of the orchard.

I know.  What the hell was I thinking??  Clearly, I wasn't thinking at all.

In a flurry of activity, the kids split up in pairs and took off, leaving me in the dust.


was all I saw.

I frantically chased after the children, with thoughts of never seeing them again floating through my head.  Thankfully, it didn't take too long before I came across this:

How sweet is that?  Giant and Cuckoo were paired up, taking their sweet time walking through the maze.  At each fork, they stopped and had a small chat about which way to turn.

Once finding them, I stuck close.  I offered no advice, but I wasn't about to let them out of my sight. 

Eventually we found Phoenix and Buttercup,

which meant Star and Turken were out there all on their own.  My heart started fluttering a bit harder with that information.

The older two didn't stick around for long.  They were determined to win this race.

Giant and Cuckoo and I trudged along.  Twisting and turning and circling and spinning and getting lost and running into dead ends and more views of this:

At one point, I muttered, "I wonder how many dead bodies are hiding in this corn."

Unfortunately, Giant heard me.  "What?!?!"

"Oh, I was just thinking, this maze is dumb.  And never-ending.  And I was wondering how many people died in here, because they could never find the flippin' exit!"

Twisting and spinning and stupid "left or right?" decisions.  Though, really, they weren't really thought-filled decisions, seeing as how all corn looks maddeningly identical and is 8 feet tall, preventing anyone from actually seeing anything besides corn stalks.

Well, I take that back.  We could see the birds watching and laughing from overhead.  I swear I saw a few of those birds with little mice in their claws, and those mice were laughing the hardest.

I almost crushed Turken with hugs the one time I caught sight of him and Star.

He looks a bit nervous, doesn't he?  It's not because he was afraid of dying in the corn, but because he saw the look on my face of utter "OH, MY DARLING!!  WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?"

But before I could say, "Watch out for Malachi!" they were off again.

And when I turned around, I saw this:

My little companions in corn were gone.

I was on my own.

What did I do? 

Yell.  Of course.

I yelled my head off.

I called each child by name.

Not one answered.

I stopped and listened.

I heard nothing.


So I ran.

Which was explicitly against the posted Corn Maze Rules, but I didn't care.

I had to find my babies.

I finally caught up to two, who were on the scent of the exit. 

I chased them down right about here:

They did it!!!  After a grueling 35 minutes, they got us out of the Corn Maze of Death!!

When I asked them how they won, Giant replied, "As the tortoise knows, slow and steady wins the race."

We sat for about 5 minutes before we heard Phoenix's gigantic plodding feet on the other side of the corn.

We sat for another 8 minutes waiting for the last two.

My heart was beating faster by the second.

Two of my boys were out there.  In that maze.  All alone.  No phone.  No flares.  No way to find us.

I had to go back in.

I went as far as I could without getting lost, yelling for them the entire way.  No sign of life anywhere.

Realizing I left my phone with the four found children, I went back, praying the other two had found their way back out the entrance.

No such luck.

My heart beat a little faster.

We waited another 3 minutes, before I couldn't take it anymore and sent the biggest 2 kids back in for a search and rescue (after making sure Phoenix had his phone).

A full 7 minutes later, they emerged.  Two victorious, two shamefacedly.

But they were alive, and that's all that mattered.

The rest of the day included loads of fun.  Two hours playing on this:

And eating lunch here:

And playing here:

Cuckoo is coughing up a lung in this photo.

And walking here:

Clearly, the person who put that sign up doesn't have children.

And, in honor of Columbus Day, explored here:

Which actually wasn't all that fun for me.  Major drop-offs and no clear path through the woods put me on high alert the entire time.

They think they're funny. 
In the end, we came out alive and not even a scratch on us.

It turned out to be an awesome one day of break.

Do your kids have an October break?  Did you do anything fun?  Or life-threatening?

Have a lovely day!