Sunday, August 31, 2014

Good Grief, It's Sunday Already! TToT Week 63

If I had to cause major trauma to my knee, it couldn't have happened at a better time.  I was able to go on the trips we had planned, the kids were home for the summer and could take care of the laundry and food prep and all else that needed done, and I'd be all healed up by the time they went back to school.

Which they have.  Three weeks ago.

My knee is almost back to full range of motion.  If I can get rid of the swelling, I'll be back to normal.


It feels good to be back.

Although it has meant much less blogging.  I just don't have the time to sit and write.  Shoot, I haven't even told you about Cuckoo's birthday dinner, which was eventful and funny as I look back on it.  I'll get to it someday...

1. I can finally do the things that need done.  I canned tomatoes.  I helped a friend turn 150 pounds of cabbage into sauerkraut.  I started mowing the yard.  I've taken care of baby chicks.  I've done laundry.  I've cooked dinner.  Lots and lots of things.

2.  Bryan and Cuckoo have done all of the mowing since May.  Let's just say they aren't as particular as I am when it comes to either mowing or mower maintenance.  I've discovered that my poor Dixie Chopper has aged 5 years in this one summer.  The things they have run over!  The corners they've (not) cut!  The pieces of mower they've lost!  The thankful here is that I actually did do the mowing this week.  When I checked the oil, it was almost completely dry.  They were this close to completely killing my mower.  But, thankfully, the mower will live to see another day.

3.  Blog friends are awesome.  Really.  I get gifts.  I get laughs.  I get fun photos.  I get sweet cards.  I love that people think of me first when ridiculous things happen, even if I'm in the middle of a very public place when I receive the photo and cause a scene with my loud laughter.  This week, I'm especially grateful to Phoebe for offering some Indy 11(our new pro soccer team) tickets.  She has season tickets but can't go Saturday.  I've never met this person in real life, even though she lives about an hour from me, yet she was kind enough to think of us and email the tickets.  I'll be taking Star with me, and I'll be posting a photo or two on Instagram.  (That's where I keep in touch with Phoebe, since she doesn't blog so much anymore.)  

4.  On Tuesday night at soccer practice, Buttercup was tripped and hit her head on the turf.  Hard.  She had a horrible headache that night and was acting a bit weird.  She was still extra groggy in the morning, so I called the athletic trainer and told her to check Buttercup before she steps foot on the field again.  I'm so glad I did.  She has a concussion.

Concussions are taken seriously nowadays.  Not only is she excused from all homework and tests until she has healed, she gets to have a nap time during the school day to relax her brain for a bit.  She has spent a whole lot of time sleeping and simply staring at the ceiling of her bedroom for the past three days.  Finally, finally, at dinner on Friday she was beginning to act like her old self.  With the three-day weekend upon us, she will have plenty of time to do absolutely nothing.  We're praying it is enough to heal her right up.

5.  Bryan and I are similar in most ways, but in one, we couldn't be more different.  The man has no patience.  None.  Thankfully, I do.  When he encounters a problematic situation, he panics and can't think straight in order to find a solution.  I am the one to stay calm and figure things out.  It's why he can't get a car out of a snowbank.  When I got home last Sunday, he had the Dixie Chopper's wheels stuck in a deep rut and the blades stuck on a fallen tree limb.  I took a look at what he was doing and asked, "Why don't you dig out the front?"  Within 2 minutes the mower was out.  Thankfully it doesn't bother him that I can do these things.  He's just grateful that one of us can.

6.  (It's now Sunday morning, and I'm finally finishing the list.)  Star and I had a great time at the Indy 11 game.  He is the first of our kids to acquire the full-blown attitude of a 13 year old when he turned 13.  He and I needed some time alone to just have some fun.  It was perfect. Oh, and it didn't rain.  Made the night even better.

7.  Giant had a soccer tournament yesterday, and I was the one who took him.  The games were very exciting (ending in 4-3 and 3-1 wins).  When they were over, we tried to find an ice cream place in the town where we were.  Couldn't find one, so we just went to the grocery store to buy some individual containers and some spoon.  When we saw that the individual containers were $5 each, but the "half gallon" were only $4, we just bought a half gallon.  We sat in the back seat of the car and wolfed down more than half of it, right out of the container.  I love that little things like that make me a cool mom in the eyes of an almost 12 year old.

8.  Bryan's mom is here for a visit.  I've only seen her for about an hour since she got here Friday night, but she's having a great time watching soccer games and playing board games with the kids.

9. My mom and my brother and his family will be visiting tomorrow.  They have a farm and kids who like to play on one, so we always have fun when they are in town.

10.  I love a three-day weekend.  We actually get a day off with no soccer, no school, and Bryan gets to be home with us.

So what has gotten a smile out of you this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Friday, August 29, 2014

August Photo Challenge - Colorful

P.J. at a 'lil hoohaa has a photo challenge every month, and every month I don't do it.


This month he chose "Colorful" for our theme.  Unfortunately, I used my phone for every one of them.  Fortunately, I have a phone which can take photos.

1.  August came in with some mild temperatures and clear skies.  Day after day we enjoyed the most beautiful blue.  The pop of red from Cuckoo's shirt is a little bonus of colorful. 

2.  Four years ago we planted sunflowers at the edge of our garden.  Every single year new ones grow from the fallen seeds of the previous year.  I love looking out my kitchen window to see all of those yellow blooms stretching for the sky.

3.  This bright pink ball has been the toy of choice lately.  They were actually giggling, even as they fell to the ground.  Over and over and over.

4.  Despite the storms and our lack of care this summer, the pepper plants have been prolific.  The kids prefer the taste of the green ones, so we pick them and freeze them before they change to red.  

5.  One of the best places to find color is the midway at the state fair.  Especially on another perfect weather day.

What are some of the most colorful things you saw during the month of August?  

If you have a blog, there's still time for you to link up!

Have a lovely day!  

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Have...Some Little Things to Tell You

I have a chin hair.
It's a very long chin hair.
I keep forgetting I have a chin hair
until I'm driving in the van
unable to do anything about said
chin hair.


I have a 5 year old.
A five year old who can't understand infinity.
Probably this is normal
for a 5 year old.
Yet he won't let it go.
So we have conversations.
Lots and lots of conversations
like these:

C:  You were wrong.  There is a last number.
Me:  No there isn't.
C:  Yes.  It's one hundred nine.
M:  No, you can add one to it and get 110.  You can always add one to any number.  If you have 3,245,531, you can add one and get 3,245,532.
C:  Well, what comes after 90 a hundred?
Me:  90 a hundred isn't a number.
C:  See? 'Cause it's the last one.


I have a blog.
A blog that gets found for odd reasons.
Commonly, people search "pig waterers"
and come to my blog.
Go google it.
In images.
Of all the photos
that could have popped up...


I have a farm
and kids who wear farm shoes.
I don't buy farm shoes.
They simply wear their old shoes
as farm shoes
when I buy new ones.
We may
have to rethink
that plan.


I have 6 kids.
5 of whom play soccer.
I have a farm.
With a garden full of produce
that needs to be canned and frozen.
What in the world
am I doing
sitting here writing a post???

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Power, Peeps, Potatoes, and People Please Me, TToT Week 62

Electricity, with our ability to harness it, move it, and use it the way we want, has got to be one of the biggest discoveries that has changed the life of humans on this earth.  We have come to depend on it so much, that we are at a loss as what to do when we no longer have it.

Major storms blew through many times this week.  On Monday, Buttercup and Phoenix's school was on a two hour delay because a late-night storm took out a tree and the power to their school with it.

One Wednesday, the school which the other three kids attend was almost dismissed early because the power had gone out during a storm right after the school bell rang.  They were without power for almost four hours.  Twenty minutes before the principal sent everyone home for the afternoon, the power came back on.

I'm pretty sure our pioneer ancestors are laughing at us from their perches up in heaven.

Electricity is wonderful.  It allows us to stay cool in the summer and keep our meat frozen until we remember to take it out to thaw for dinner.  We can stay up well past sunset to read or watch TV or get lost in the internet for hours.

And yet electricity is a dangerous thing.  When lightening is seen, people scurry from the soccer fields and metal bleachers, afraid they will be hit.

And sometimes, no matter how careful we are in harnessing that electricity, things can go wrong.

On Wednesday afternoon, one of our first grade teachers lost all of her possessions when her house caught fire. An electrical fire. Fortunately, she was still at school, and her husband and daughter were not at home.  When the firemen arrived, their dog was inside and unconscious.  The firemen pulled the dog out and resuscitated it with a new (electric) machine donated to the fire department for just such a circumstance.

Despite the loss, there are many thankfuls in the entire situation.

Less than 24 hours after the fire, this teacher was at school talking with her first graders and letting them all know she would be just fine.  If she can be grateful in her circumstances, for Pete's sake, how can I not be grateful this week?

1.  The chicks are here!  All but one arrived nice and healthy, so we have 26 new girls.  Hopefully.  We'll see when they get older if there are any missexed birds.

We got a call from the post office that the chicks had arrived.  I had until closing time to pick them up.

2 days old
2.  Mother Nature finally subbed in Heat Miser and warmed us up to summer temperatures just in time.  If the temps would have stayed the way they had been, those chicks would have had to live in our basement with a heat lamp until they were a bit bigger.  We've done it before, and we do not want to do it ever again.

3.  I actually had a day mostly free in which I could can and freeze some potatoes from the garden.



Most people look at me funny when I say I can potatoes.  "What do you use them for?" they ask.  Mainly, three things.  1. Quick mashed potatoes, 2. Quick potato salad, or 3. Quick camper's casserole.  (Heat up sliced smoked sausage, add drained can of green beans and drained can of potatoes and cook until hot.)

The potatoes that don't fit in the 7 quart jars I'm doing that day get cooked and made into mashed potatoes and put in the freezer for another day.

4. Normally I have someone in the kitchen with me peeling all of those potatoes, but with only Cuckoo in the house (watching PBS and learning about a wubble bubble) it was quiet and lonely.  I used my iPad to pull up Brian Regan's stand-up shows and laughed my way through the tedious process.

This man is one of the funniest people to ever walk the earth.

5. A little while ago Lizzy Allan posted a recipe for Bloody Mary Pasta.  I saw it and said, "Self, I'm tired of making pasta with only alfredo sauce or Prego.  We have everything for this recipe either in our garden or on our shelves, so you should make it."  I made it for dinner tonight, and it was yummy.  And I got to use up the last four jars of tomatoes I canned last year.  The only thing I did differently from her recipe was use my hand-held blender thingy to make it a smooth sauce.  My kids wouldn't have touched it if they could actually see the bits of tomatoes and onions in it.

6.  I got home from a soccer tournament last weekend and found this on our little kitchen table:

Fresh from our garden.  The shocker is that Bryan actually brought them in and put them in the vase like this.  All by himself. There was also a dozen roses on the kitchen counter he had purchased earlier in the day, but the sunflower arrangement was a much bigger surprise.  That man loves to make me happy with colorful flowers.  No special occasion needed.

7.  For the first time in my life, I just spelled "occasion" without the aid of spellcheck or a dictionary.

8.  All of the big kids have had their first soccer games of the season.  They all did very well.  It's going to be a fun season.

Even if it rains.

9.  The first week of school, the germs were flying through the school.  All 6 of my kids have had a cold this week.  Fortunately, they all had the same pattern of one day sore throat, two days of runny nose and cough, one day stuffy nose, then done.  Giant and Cuckoo are on the tail end of it.  I will not discuss Bryan and my health, seeing as how I don't want to jinx anything.

10.  Finally, and most importantly, today (Saturday) is Cuckoo's birthday.  My baby is 5 years old!!  I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I don't have any little, little kids in the house anymore.  Thankfully he is the smallest kid we've ever had, so he doesn't look like a 5 year old.  I don't think I could have handled it.

This child brings more light to more people than I could ever count.  He is the one and only of our children who genuinely likes to talk with people, and he does it constantly.  And people love it. Don't take my word for it.  I have no doubt Kris will back me up on this one.

And for those of you wondering, he will not be getting a wubble bubble.  We looked into it and found that they pop very easily, usually within the first 15 minutes.  Um, no thanks.  He'll be getting something he will love, though.  Have no fear.  Photos will come eventually.

Your turn!  Besides electricity and a roof over your head, what are you glad to have this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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When I Was a Kid, I Really Believed...Lots of Things that I Seemed to Have Written about Many Times

Today's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "When I was a kid, I really believed..."

Well, I was going to finish it with " parents never lied to me", but I already wrote about the time my mom and grandma lied about the shells my siblings and I found and also about the time our duck died and my parents covered it up.  That belief went out the window when I was 16.

I also believed I was going to be a superstar Olympic runner, seeing as how I was the fastest person in our school and in our neighborhood.  To my nine year old self, I was already the fastest person in the world.  That ended when I got to college and had to run people from lots of different states.

I believed I was going to be a fabulous artist. After I won the gold in the 100m, of course.  Remember the mass mailings from "art schools" that had you copy a drawing and send it in?  I drew the best fictional turtle head this side of the Mississippi, I tell you.  A couple of months later, my suspicions (of being a natural) were confirmed when we heard back from the school.  The letter gave an honest to goodness critique of my drawing, including both positive and negative points.  In the end, they thought all I needed was a few classes.
Classes my parents wouldn't pay for.  I remember having a clandestine argument with them about how good I was and how they were stomping all over my dreams and stifling my talent.  Really, they didn't argue all that much.  They said no and I yelled at them, as I was wont to do.  (How could they have predicted that I would be a famous blogger someday and have to draw pictures of pigs?)

I believed dresses and fancy shoes were for people like my sister.  The pretty, nonathletic girls.  You know, a girl who didn't crawl around at recess and have to worry about a boy seeing her underwear.  Now, I wear a skirt to every soccer game above 80 degrees.  They are so much cooler than shorts!

I believed someone was going to try to kidnap my siblings and me.  Most likely during an all-school Mass.  I had an exit strategy and everything.  I outgrew that one by the time I went to high school.

I believed pain in any form other than sports-related was completely not worth it.  I told everyone that I was not about to birth babies.  My plan was to adopt a whole bunch of them and avoid pain altogether.  Clearly that didn't pan out.  I not only loved every bit of pregnancy, I would go through labor and delivery again in a heart beat.

I believed that murderers and monsters lurked under beds and in corn fields thanks to Malachi from "Children of the Corn" and Freddy from "Friday the 13th" and my mom's parenting style which allowed me to watch such things.  Unfortunately, this one stuck.  I won't go in a corn field, and I keep lots of things under my bed so no one can fit under it and stab me from underneath.

How about you?  What did you believe as a child?

Have a lovely day!

Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just a Little Something to Let You Know I'm Still a Blogger

Making banana bread with Cuckoo this morning, he asked why we used the yucky bananas instead of the good bananas.  I answered, "Well, people will eat the good bananas.  No one will eat the bad ones.  By using the old ones, we are making something good out of something bad."

As soon as I said it, I knew I had hit on something profound.  It's quite the analogy for life, I think.

Making a good life is like making a good loaf of banana bread.  You need to use the yucky stuff to make something delicious.

Or something like that.

Next thought:

I took Turken to his soccer practice last night.  We were a couple of minutes late, as we were coming from Buttercup's game.  He ran ahead to his field, since my bum knee and I can't go as fast as he'd like us to.  When I finally got to the field, the coach was trying to get eight 6 and 7 year olds to do a soccer drill.  All while carrying a toddler.  He was sweating profusely, because it was 85 degrees and as humid as the rain forest AND he had just spent over an hour coaching his 4 year old's team immediately before our practice time.

The parents of these players were set up in their chairs on the sidelines, watching the coach struggle.

I was flabbergasted.  Why was no one helping this poor (volunteer) dad?

I marched (as best I could) right on up to the coach and asked if he needed help corralling.  His face showed his gratitude as he handed off his sweet little girl.  I didn't even know her name, but I took her and let him get on with the practice.  A little later, the coach's four year old came over and hung out with us, too.

I was pleased to see another parent get up and offer his assistance in corralling the team after I walked away.

Why?  Why don't people get up and help when they see volunteers who clearly need it?

I'm sure Clark will have an answer for me.  I'm guessing it has something to do with my (as he calls it) worldview.  But honestly, I get annoyed when people all over the internet and in person talk about the need for everyone to help his neighbor or "it takes a village" but then no one actually steps up to do anything when confronted with the prime opportunity to actually do something.  And something easy to boot.

Relatedly, if a coach (for the high school team) asks for volunteers to help with communication and spiritwear and food for the players before games, and you sit there twiddling your thumbs, DO NOT then offer me advice on how to do the communications job I ultimately agreed to do.

Unrelatedly, dear Blogger spell check, relatedly is to a word.  I looked it up, so you can stop with the squiggly line.

Next thought:

Cuckoo is going to be mighty disappointed come Saturday, which just happens to be his birthday.

He has asked for something he "can do".  When asked for clarification, he told me "like an iPod.  Or a Kindle Fire.  Or an iPad."

I told him it wasn't going to happen.

Then this morning, out of nowhere, Cuckoo and I had this conversation:

C:  I saw a wubble bubble on TV.  I want one for my birthday.
Me:  What is a wubble bubble?
C:  It looks like a bubble and floats like a bubble and you can catch it like a bubble, but it doesn't pop.  I want one.
M: Well, I still don't know what it is, and I have no idea where to find one.
C:  I don't know where to get it either.
C:  Oh, I know!  Kroger has it!  Kroooogeeer...or Wal-Maaaart...or Meijer.
C: Ask someone.  Don't ask (Bible study friend), because they won't know.  Ask (another friend).
M:  Ok.
C (handing me my phone):  Now. Text them.

All morning we've been doing this.  Every so often he comes up with another clue as to what a wubble bubble could be.  I also know that it is about "this big" and is green, but mostly normal bubble colored.

I'm at a loss.

Hopefully when he unwraps a gigantic jar of Nutella, he'll forget all about the wubble bubble.


The more likely situation:  Four months from now, when we're driving to preschool, he'll yell from the backseat, "Hey!  I didn't get a wubble bubble for my birthday!"

And that is when I will say, "Well, when Nana asked what you wanted for your birthday, I told her you wanted a wubble bubble.  You'll have to ask her about it."

That, my friends, is how you make a yucky situation delicious.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Having Fun Without the Big Kids, Garden Goodies, and Proof I Ain't No Milli Vanilli, TToT Week 61

This wasn't the easiest of weeks, and not just because of all of the bad news in the world.  One year ago, one of my book club friends lost her baby.  I was there to meet precious Isabel in the hospital, I was there for her funeral.  I am so glad I was able to be there for my friend on the anniversary of Isabel's passing.

It was a difficult week.

Fortunately, there were some things to help keep my spirits up.  How 'bout I share...oh, I don't know...ten of them?  I'm telling you, if you've never made a list of the things for which you are thankful, you need to try it.  Sour moods are sweetened each and every week.

1. We all made it through the first week of school.  It was a long week, but everyone managed to keep up with homework, do well on quizzes, and get to bed at a decent hour.

2. With the start of school comes our Friday after school tradition. Love me some half-price milkshakes!

3. Cuckoo and I have spent a whole lot of time by ourselves this week, since his preschool doesn't start until after Labor Day.  On Thursday, I took him to the Indiana State Fair.  It wasn't quite the same without the big kids.

Every year we take a photo of the kids in front of this barn.  I was a bit sad when we took it this year.
But Cuckoo had no reason to be sad.  He dubbed Thursday "the best day ever, except for when we went to Kings Island, because you won't let me ride any rides".  No, we did not ride any rides at the fair, but we did...

see the world's biggest cheese sculpture,

eat gigantic bowls of ice cream for lunch (The dairy bar rocks!  All that ice cream for $3! All day, every day!)

and see lots of animals.
But the best thing we did was win a duck race.  With real live mallard ducks.

Yup.  That's our duck.

This is from the heat we won.  After this race, we were in the finals...

which we also won.  Cuckoo walked away with the grand prize of a duck call and a duck hat.
It was a great day.

4.  I am really thankful that the woman I threw my phone at and asked to take photos of us during the duck race was kind enough to look past my boldness and honest enough to not take off with it.

5.  While it makes me nervous about what winter will bring, I have been enjoying the perfect weather we've been having lately.  Sunshine and open windows make me happy.  Cooler temperatures make my soccer players happy.

6.  I get overly giddy when we have a meal made mostly with ingredients from our own property.  This week, I made stuffed peppers with ground pork from our pigs and onions, zucchini, and peppers from our garden.  They were delicious!

7.  Speaking of produce, I've been getting the abundance of zucchini used up.  Zucchini bread is being made, I have 12 cups of zucchini in the freezer, and I've sweetened up my physical therapist with gifts of vegetables in hopes she won't use that blasted scraper thing on the back of my leg ever again.

8. Last weekend, Buttercup and Phoenix spent hours and hours cleaning their rooms and organizing their drawers and closets.  Shockingly, Buttercup has kept her room spotless all week long.  I can't stress enough how huge this is.  The state of her room is really the only thing we ever argue about.  With a clean room, we can both breathe easier.

9. I've finally found some guys who can get some stuff done around here.  All 4 of the broken windows on the main floor have been fixed.  We also had an electrician out here to fix a burned up outlet and go through all of the other things that need fixed around here.  We now know what is wrong and what needs to be done.  Mostly, though, I'm just glad to hear that the wiring is fine and I don't have to worry about the house burning down around us.

10. I'm thankful for funny people who like to make people laugh.  Kelly from This Ain't the Lyceum started a lip sync battle based on the ones Jimmy Fallon does on his show.  She made a video, then challenged her readers to make their own.  Star suggested I do one with the Cups song.  So I did.  I just wish I didn't have a bum knee.  A good dancing song would have put me in the winner's circle for sure, and I bet the prize is going to be better than a duck hat.

Alrighty, that's it for me.  What has turned your frown upside down this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

When the Kids Are Away, the Mom Has No Choice But to Play

Five kids are back in school.

One is not.

This is the first time since March 2000 that I have had only one child at home with me all day.

It is also the first time Cuckoo has been the only child at home all day since the day of his birth.

We have a few kinks to work out.

The boy has not left my side.  And I don't mean he's constantly next to me.  I mean he has actually been touching, sitting, lying, or in some way attached to my side from the moment he gets up until the moment we pick up the big kids.

I am only exaggerating a little bit.  During physical therapy, while I am on the table doing exercises or getting my knee massaged, he is flat out on top of me.

I can't get anything done.  And by anything I mean blog reading and writing, but also all of this computer stuff I have to do.  Because I opened my mouth and agreed to be PTO secretary, communications person for Phoenix's soccer team, and room parent for Star's class.

When the big kids and/or Turken were home, I could do these things without a problem.  However, with no one but me home to play with, listen to, and bear the brunt of amusing Cuckoo, it's darn near impossible.

One morning, he decided to play with Kinex.  One would think it would be a prime opportunity for me to sit at the computer and focus.  One would be wrong.  Each time he made something, I was supposed to guess what the thing was.

I had conversations like this one for an hour:

Cuckoo: Guess what this is.

Me: A sword.

C: Nope, a sign.  How did you think it was a sword?  Swords don't have these on the top.

Me: I thought that was the handle.

C: OK, now guess again.

Me: I don't have to guess.  You already told me what it is.

C: Guess again.  Just forget that you know.

Me: I know my memory is bad, but I cannot not remember that it is a sign.

C: OK, I'll do another.


C (5 seconds later, holding the exact same thing):  OK, what is this?

Me: A sign.

C: Yeah!  You're right!  You get a prize!

I accumulated many prizes in that hour.  Here is a sampling:

I am not going to complain about all of this one-on-one time.  We are getting to do some fun things, seeing as we have hours and hours of not having to pick up or drop off a kid or four.  I am savoring most of these minutes, as I know I won't have this much time with him ever again once he starts big kid school.  (We don't know when that will be, seeing as how our school got rid of the half-day kindergarten option. I may be homeschooling kindergarten.)

I am simply letting you all know why I can't get any posts written and why I'm barely reading anything either.  It has taken me 3 days to write this one itty-bitty post.  (One may ask, "Well, why can't you get this stuff done after the kids get home?"  One would be in danger of getting punched for asking such a question.  Homework and dinner and driving and talking and more talking and feeding with each wave of children and the spouse that walks through the door aaaaalll the way up until my bedtime would be the answer.)

I pray you are all doing well.  Cuckoo starts preschool the day after Labor Day.  I'll catch up with you then.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

We Laughed, Despite the School-Prep Madness, TTOT Week 60

Signs the school year is starting really soon:

Meetings:  Haven't had one all summer, but I've had to attend 4 this week alone.
Practices:  The official start of the high school sports season for the state was this week, and each player has to have to have been to at least 10 practices before the first game.  Girls are going for 6 practices this week alone, and all of them right in the middle of the day.
Errands:  Good gravy, 5 kids need a whole mess of supplies.  And don't forget the school clothes.  And the hair cuts.
Appointments: No one wants to take the kids out of school for appointments, so we must put as many as possible this week.

With all of that busyness, I had to search high and low for things to be thankful for this week.

But I found some!

1.  I got to watch (with full attention) one TV show this week.  I made sure it was one that made me smile.  Last Comic Standing had me not only smiling, but laughing my full head off.  I absolutely love stand-up comedy, so it only makes sense that I would like this show.

2.  The little boys had me laughing many times.  The two funniest:

Wearing a previously dry shirt and carrying a sopping wet thank you card he'd been working on for the last 30 minutes, Turken came into the room and complained, "The marker said it was washable."

The scene:  I was sitting on a bench at a soccer event with two other moms while we watched our boys play.  Cuckoo came up to stand between my legs, leaned over, and rested his head on my chest.  He said one thing, and one thing only.  "Hubba.  Hubba."

3.  High school soccer tryouts are over.  Both Buttercup and Phoenix are starters for the JV teams.  So glad it's over and we didn't have the disaster of last year's tryouts.

4.  Our weekend has quite a bit of free time, so the kids' rooms are getting completely cleaned out.  I have also managed to organize the linen closet and get a bunch of paperwork/email work done.

5.  I managed to squeeze in a lot of reading as I sat in the van and waited for kids to finish practice.  It's been lovely.

6.  On Wednesday afternoon there was some mix-up with the boys' practice, and it ended up not being mandatory.  We took full advantage.  I had told the kids for days that we would take that day to go to the state fair.  The night before I decided to change plans as a reward for being so helpful this summer.

We went to a gigantic amusement park instead.  As soon as Buttercup's practice was over at 1:30, we drove the 2 hours to Kings Island.  I was a tad nervous about my knee's ability to hold up, but I knew I could always rent a wheelchair or scooter if I needed it.

Despite the looks on their faces, they were beyond excited to be there.  They just weren't happy about having to stop to get a photo taken.

7.  The big kids were worried that the lines would be long, especially since we did the discounted late arrival tickets.  They only had from 4-10 to ride.  Fortunately, it was the perfect day to go.  They waited in line for 25 minutes for one ride, and never waited in line for more than 10 minutes for any others.  They got to ride everything they wanted multiple times.

8.  I was able to send the big kids off to enjoy themselves, since two of them carried phones and had been there with their 8th grade classes before.  They were fantastic about checking in (and hilarious when they did) and they all had a great time.

9.  While the big kids rode their rides, the little boys and I spent the entire 6 hours in the best kids' area I have ever seen in an amusement park.

There were normal little rides that got big giggles out of them...

 but there were also big kid rides toned down a bit for little kids.  Nothing made Cuckoo laugh harder than these:

Don't let the smile fool you.  He was ruthless in his attempt to crash into other kids.  
There were three roller coasters. One was for beginners to get their jitters out.  Then there were two real coasters.  For real roller coasters:

The end of the ride, and he's still smiling.
Cuckoo asked a few times if we could come back after he turns five (in two weeks), since he missed the height requirement for this one by 4 inches.  He did get to ride the other big one, though.  Three times.  (No photo because I had to ride it with him.)

We rode rides until the park closed.

This ride took them 15 feet in the air.  And there were no straps holding them down.  He was barely big enough for the ride.  He loved it.

And since we never left the kid area, my knee never got put to the "that's a lot of walking!" test.  I felt great.

10.  The kids were having so much fun, there was not one moment of meltdown or crying or complaining the entire afternoon and evening.  At least 15 times, Cuckoo screamed, "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!"  Even at 10:15 at night, while we waited for the big kids to join us at the exit, the little boys were happy and dancing up a storm.

It's fun to watch your shadow dance.  
But, all things must end.  This is the last weekend before school starts bright and early on Monday.  Next week's list of 10 will be looking a whole lot different than this one.

So, did you do anything to make you giggle this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Things Keep Going Wrong, but I'm Going to be Grateful! TToT week 59

No time for an intro this week.  Got to git to gittin'!

1.  I am thankful that the internet is working again.  I was just about done with my TToT post at 10:00 last night when the internet went down.  I went to bed.  This morning, the post is gone, which is probably a good thing.  I seem to have the same grouchy mood Zoe has, and my post was a bit whiney.

2.  We were able to go to the pool for the first time this summer!

(You can see the post with more photos here.)

3.  We are gathering lots of green peppers, potatoes, and zucchini from the garden.  Before surgery, the kids and I got that garden looking good.  We weeded and got more grass clippings down between the rows.  Between surgery and vacation, that meant 3 weeks until I was out there again.  I almost cried.  The green beans are shot.  So many beautiful green beans wasted since we weren't here to pick them.  The tomato plants have been overrun by morning glories and have all fallen down, cages and all.  There are lots of green tomatoes on the plants, but we'll see if they actually ripen well.

4.  Soccer season has started.  The high school practices have been going all summer, messing with our summer, but this week, club soccer started up.  The thankful part is that Star and Giant, who are the only two in club this season, have the exact same practice schedule.  Woohoo!

5.  Buttercup had freshman orientation on Saturday.  Before it started, she, her two best friends, and the moms went out for lunch.  It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.

6.  I've been kind of hiding some bad news from you all.  While we were on vacation, the dogs' collars stopped working.  Long story short, Roy got into the chicken run, got stuck in there, and all of our chickens died.  If we would have been home, it wouldn't have happened.  It makes me sick to even think about it.  The only thankful I can get from it is that it happened while it is still summertime.  We are getting new chicks the week of the 18th, which will give them enough time to grow before winter hits.

7.  The knee is healing.  I started physical therapy this week and managed to get a really good therapist.  She explains the whys and the hows perfectly, so I can properly do the exercises.  While it still hurts like the dickens, and I'm walking slower than molasses, I am walking and driving.

8.  With the healing of the knee, I'm also able to get back to doing a few things.  I've made dinner most days, and I even made some cookies for a soccer event.  The problem now is making sure I don't do too much.  I am walking the line of feeling lazy and not wanting to do anything because of the pain and stiffness and feeling all I want to get things done!, pushing myself farther than I should.  I really don't like that line, but it's better than not having the choice.

9.  The high school schedules came out, and Buttercup and Phoenix will be in the same math class.  They are actually happy about it.  It's a ridiculously hard class, and I'm hoping they will use their different strengths to help each other do well in it.  Phoenix is smart as a whip when it comes to math, but his lack of organization kills him.  Buttercup, while also very intelligent, has to work a bit harder on the math, but she is highly organized and hard working.  Can't wait to see how it goes.

10.  It's a beautiful morning, with a lovely sunrise.  It will be a nice day to spend outdoors.

How's your week been?  I'd love to hear about it!  Link up or tell me in the comments.

Last minute thankful addition!!!  I'm thankful for fun challenges.  I only had 2 minutes to do this one, but I'll spend more time in the future.  Lillian is a talented artist who is hosting a stickman challenge.  Today's prompt is pets.  How could I not make one??

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Friday, August 1, 2014

7 Quick Take Tips for Making a Trip to the Pool a Little Easier on You


I know, I've slammed the public pool in the past, but I was really excited to go today.  After this long summer of knee trauma and oddball calamities, I just wanted to take the kids somewhere by myself and do something normal.

I'm using my 7 quick takes to give you some tips to make your next trip to the pool a little bit easier.

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

When you are driving to the pool, and your youngest child yells from the back, "I've never worn this babin' suit before!" stop the van, pull the kid out, and see what he is actually wearing.  If he is your youngest, he is most likely wearing a hand-me-down.  A hand-me-down that might have stretched or gotten a hole or dry rotted.  And if you have a youngest, we can infer that you have more than one child and are probably really busy and might have forgotten that one of those old, worn out hand-me-downs was even hiding in the back of the drawer.

Just pull the heck over and see what the boy is wearing!  Trust me.

I couldn't post the more spectacular wardrobe malfunctions.
************** 2 ************

 Have a major injury before going to the pool.  When the little kids want to jump to you (which we all know is really jump ON you), you can say, "Oh, I would loooove to, Honey, but I can't because of my knee.  Hey, I bet he will!"

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

Bring a teenager or two so you actually have someone to point to when you make such a declaration.

See?  Even Star knows he's going to get walloped in this scenario.
************** 4 ***********

Bring lots and lots of towels for those kids who want to swim, but really, really don't want to get their faces wet.  As in, if a drop of water gets within 6 inches of his eye, he loses his ever-lovin' mind.  Position those towels strategically all around the pool deck to cut down on the running and the yelling and the crying of, "MY EYES!  THERE'S WATER ON MY EYES!!" and the stares from strangers and the whistles from lifeguards.




a hundred times in 2 hours

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

Be ready with a cool name to loudly proclaim as you walk back to the car when your child puts his shoes on the wrong feet.  3 times.  Just shrug and make him a new super hero.

Meet "Wrong Feet Man"!

I cannot take credit for the super hero name.  Three times he put his shoes on incorrectly, and three times I told him to switch them.  The third time he changed tactics and yelled "I'm Wrong Feet Man!"  Loudly. Over and over.  The entire way back to the van, in fact.

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

Lounge close to the kids' pool and watch closely.  You will get some of the best laughs you've had all summer when you see unsuspecting children getting a gigantic bucket of water dumped on their heads.  Sometimes I even yell (in my head) "That's for smearing poo all over the bathroom!" as I laugh and laugh and laugh.

Once dunked, though, it turns into fun for them.  While I still enjoy it, it's not quite the same when they do.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

And keep waiting for it...



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

Have your camera ready.  You never know when your youngest will learn how to swim.  Sure, it looks like a really bad dog paddle, and it takes him 30 minutes to go 3 feet, but by golly, when he grabs that wall and says, "Are you videoing me??" you can say, "Yes, Sir!" and mean it.

Looking for a videographer for your special occasion? My finger and I are available!

Now git yourselves over to the pool and have some fun!

After you head on over to Jen's to join in on the 7 Quick Takes.

Or leave a comment with some tips of your own.

Have a lovely day!