Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quick, what's the number for 9-1-1??

This morning I was in the shower (such a luxury when you have 3 kids) when I heard very frantic yelling. "Mom, mom, mom, mom!!!" It was loud enough, and urgent enough, that I actually thought something might have happened. James came running up, stuck his head in the door and yells 'Do farmers have unicorns???' I mean really, I think the whole world would have fallen apart had he not found the answer RIGHT AWAY! :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We haven't had much rain all summer. In fact, I am hard pressed to remember the last time we had an actual 'rainy' day. So when we went to the farm yesterday, I knew that the puddles would be calling my kids. Thankfully, I brought rubber boots, towels and extra clothes. Tyler even got in on the fun, although I forgot to take a picture of him. James broke in his new(ish) Carhart pants by coating them with a very thick layer of mud. (Note the original color of the pants at the waist) Katie mostly got her backside covered, and Tyler added a splattering of mud to his face, as well as the obligatory 'what does this sloppy brown stuff taste like' beard. You'd think after 87.5 mouthfuls of dirt over the summer he would learn not to eat it. Oh, well. Builds character, right?

In other news, to quote James, he is 'obsessed with' Little House on the Prairie, farming, and Lincoln Logs. Here is a picture of one of his villages.

And here is a lovely shot of my two exceedingly handsome boys, just for fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Saturday Mom and I dragged the kids to my favorite yard sale of the year. Its this really old little town (like 1682 old) on the creek, and the whole town rolls out their stuff to sell. Of course, James found something to buy right away and then proceeded to ask when we were going home for the duration of the outing. He also threw in the 'I'm so tired!' line about a dozen times. (Mind you, this was as I was pulling he and Katie in the wagon) While we always find a few fun things there, this year I hit the jackpot. My best deal was getting 3 pairs of like-new shoes (including a pair of Crocs sandals), 6 pairs of really nice, adjustable waist jeans for James (including a pair of Carharts just like Jeff's), a cordouroy jacket, a pair of snowpants for James, and 9 shirts, all for...........$4.25!!! That pretty much made my day. After buying at least five pairs of shoes for the kids since July, that was a nice reprieve. Speaking of shoes, Tyler already outgrew the shoes we got him for his birthday, after only a month. Katie grew out of all her shoes, so we got her a new church pair and some tennis shoes. James grew out of his too, and he pretty much skipped up two sizes. I had a rude awakening when I found that my baby boy must now shop in the BOY section for shoes (as opposed to the toddler section). These kids are growing like weeds. They are going to be taller than me in a matter of a few years I think.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I haven't written a 'Franch' post in a really long time. I just pulled this one out of my mental archives for James, who would sit and listen to 'little girl' stories as long as I can tell them. This one isn't particularly thrilling but you East Coasters will get a laugh out of it. We loved to go over to our friends, the Folkestad's, house. They had horses, sheep, cattle, a pond, and other assorted creatures from time to time (most notably, a friendly raccoon named Cheech). We spent a lot of time over there swimming in questionable places. One place we liked to swim was the 'cow pond.' Yes, we shared a swimming hole with a bunch of bovines. We would fill our rubber boots up with frogs and crawdads, then empty them out before we came home. It was good times, I tell you. The bottom of the pond was very squishy, if I recall correctly. However, the story I told James today was about a cow tank. Their dad put a big, round cow tank out by their back porch. He would fill it up with water and we would have our own personal swimming pool. Many an hour was spent swimming in there, mostly in whatever clothes we happen to have been wearing at the time. (Cut-off shorts, anyone? :) Incidentally, it was the same tank that we would stop at to give the horses a drink. Good for one and all! I also have vague memories of the tank being full of feed corn, which was really fun to play in. And while we are on the subject of things we used to do over at the Folkestads, one time Meg and I were riding horses and we decided to race each other up and down in the silage pit. I remember asking her if that was OK with her dad, and of course she assured me that he didn't care. Needless to say, we got in big trouble when we got home. He was not happy. Which of course reminds me of the time that we got a little crazy with fireworks and gasoline. But that's another story for another time...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


  • I had my friend's three kids over last night while she had back to school night. It is very funny taking 6 kids on a walk. Everyone looks at you like you are nuts. (Probably an honest evaluation) I had Tyler on my back, Emma and Katie in the double stroller, and the rest on foot. I kept counting, then thinking 'where is the sixth one?' and duh...he's on my back. The good news is, I left with six kids and came back with six kids and my sanity. Yipee!
  • Jeff is back at it for the fifth week now, but who's counting?
  • I am at a whopping 199 pounds from my garden. I really feel like going out there and rummaging around for a pound of stuff just so I can say 200 pounds, but the tomatoes are ripening very slowly these days. This year I am experimenting with fall crops like kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce and radishes (yes, Candi, some will be coming your way :)
  • Did I ever mention that there was a carjacking in our neighborhood last week? While we were out walking? Oh, yes, that was the excitement around our normally quiet neighborhood. (Fortunately, we were walking the opposite way so we didn't see any of it...we only saw police and then helicopters) The robbers were seen to have an Uzi and other guns. They robbed a guy after following him from a check-cashing business (he was a courier) and stole his car and money. As far as I know they haven't been caught. Our neighborhood is generally very nice and quiet, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was an isolated incident and that the victim wasn't a random target.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Pics

Friday, September 17, 2010

Update/Today's Festivities

Tornado Update: Jeff was able to stay at his hotel. There was a lot of wind damage in the area. Jeff said that it flattened a greenhouse and a residence in the area, along with a lot of power outages. It seems that the actual tornado has not been confirmed, although there were many sightings. Jeff saw the funnel cloud, which he said must have been 3 or 4 miles wide. I am not sure if it was touching down when he saw it or not. He forgot to take a picture of it. Think maybe he was a bit distracted? Yes...take a picture or head for shelter. I am glad he headed for shelter. Hopefully there will be no more excitement like that anytime soon.

And here are a few pictures from this morning. We went to Peddler's Village to check out the scarecrows (which, in my opinion, were sort of lame) but we had a lot of fun. The kids thought they were neat and that's why I took them there in the first place.

The kids with Cupcake Scarecrow; The kids in front of the PA Department of Fish and Game 'scarecrow' (their qualifications for scarecrows are apparently a little vague); Tyler enjoying the view

Trying to get a picture of all three kids: Mission Impossible!

A nice lady offered to take our picture together at the gazebo

And Dad, this one's for you. Its the Snooky-Crow. Ha, ha! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just got home to find a sweet message on my phone. In a very matter-of-fact voice (which is so Jeff!), he said 'Hi, we're all huddled in a tornado shelter right now. Alarms are going off. Its coming from the area of my hotel, and heading straight for the shop. Hopefully I live, if not, well, see ya' in heaven. I love you. Bye.'

Fortunately, the tornado missed them by two miles. He isn't sure if he'll be able to stay at his hotel tonight as a lot of things are closed due to storm damage and the tornado was in the area of his hotel. I am sure he'll call in a while and I'll get the full scoop. I am hoping for an UNEVENTFUL rest of the week!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week Four

This marks week four of Jeff's adventures in the fabulously interesting land of O-hi-o. (ha, ha!) The weather is finally cooling off and the kids seem to be settling in to whatever this new routine is for us. They still tell me every day that they don't want Daddy going to Ohio ever again! Overall, though, they are doing better. And while Jeff is working (and thinking) himself into the ground, he is making some positive progress out there. Hopefully soon he will find a way to schedule some sleep in there, as he has been getting very little. He is also in school, so that is adding a whole new dimension to his already too-busy schedule. Craziness, I tell you! I look forward to the end of this project.

Monday, September 13, 2010


If you need any evidence of how much time I spend removing Tyler from precarious situations everyday, then get this....Tyler escaped from the church nursery yesterday. He figured out how to pull on the door knob and push it open! Its only a matter of time before he is repelling off my roof from some bedsheets he tied together. I am thinking that those door alarms might be in our future, the kind that sound when the door is opened. He makes me nervous!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Katie!

A day late...what a slacker I am. But happy birthday, Katie! Here is a list of some things I love about you:

  • Your sense of humor, which is so like mine its scary!
  • The way you run like you don't have a care in the world (including watching where you are going!)
  • The way you say 'Nev-air!' and 'Tig-air' and 'Lobstair' and 'Tyweer'
  • How you tell me 'I am really mad right now!' (so articulate)
  • Your blond pigtails swaying in the breeze
  • How you like to have your fingernails painted
  • Watching you ride your bike as the snails leave you in a trail of dust
  • How you stop to examine every twig and rock and leave when we walk (OK, I like this most of the time...:)
  • Your nurturing spirit, even if sometimes you are a bit overzealous! :)
  • How you say 'You wanna piece of me? I don't fink so!!'
  • You are like a little piece of sunshine in our lives, full of personality and spunk and sass and all that!
Happy Birthday, Katie!

The Kids' Birthday Cakes

Cute or creepy?

Left: before James got a hold of his cake, Right: after James modified his cake

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, James!!

Today is James' fifth birthday. I can hardly believe its been five years already. Crazy! Since today we are celebrating James, here is a list of 10 things I love about James:

  • How his cheeks go up and his eyes turn into little crescents when he has a big smile
  • When he is so happy riding his bike that he giggles as he weaves back and forth on the sidewalk
  • How he is so serious about his interests, primarily his interest in farming (he means business!)
  • How he runs around the house in his skivvies and his skinny little legs hopping all over playing his air guitar
  • How he can sing all four verses of Amazing Grace with me
  • When he picks me flowers while we go on a walk
  • How he tells me he really, really, really loves me
  • When he looks at Tyler with such a tender little look in his eye and says 'Tyler's so cute, Mom, I just love him.' (Funny, he never says that about Katie...ha! They are too busy fighting with each other)
  • His developing sense of humor
  • How protective he is of Katie when we go places
  • How he loves to ask questions and learn
  • When he comes up to me, so excited, and says (and this is a regular occurance) 'Look, Mom, I found a present for you. Its a really smooth stone! (I have a lot of really smooth stones in my collection.
  • How, when I ask him how he is going to accomplish one of his lofty goals, replies 'With my ninja skills!'
Did I say 10 things? Well, I got a little carried away. Happy Birthday, James!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Murphy's Law (The 'When-You-Have-Kids' Edition)

  • If you mop the floor, someone will promptly spill something on it (more so than usual)
  • If you pack away a toy that your kid never, ever plays with, he will suddenly sense its absence cry to have his 'favorite' toy back
  • If you did not sleep good the night before and are short on patience, your kids will make sure to exercise what little you have left
  • There are several things that will cause your kid to poop, and no, I am not talking about a laxative: putting on a clean diaper, putting them to bed, or being in the middle of a doctor's appointment or church
  • If you leave off a boy's diaper for even a minute, he will most likely pee on the floor
  • If your baby pees on the floor, your older children will laugh hysterically and cheer him on as he dips his fingers in the amazing and wondrous puddle, while you run frantically to stop him
  • If you leave the bathroom door open, your baby will sense it a mile away and go running to splash in the toilet (Urgent Note to Older Children: PLEASE, PLEASE, remember to flush!! And shut the door behind you!)
  • Toy Cell Phone: L-A-M-E!!! Real Cell Phone: Will do anything to get their chubby little hands on those shiny little buttons
  • If you leave any calculator within reach of your daughter (who has a habit of chewing on stuff) she will systematically pull all the buttons out with her teeth, because really....why not?
  • When you find a puddle on the floor next to the toilet, you will be greeted with 'Oh, yeah, that was an accident.'
  • When you feel like screaming after adjusting the couch cushions for the five millionth time (OK, I have issues with the cushions, not really sure why because I am pretty much the opposite of OCD, at least I think...) your kids will do something totally awesome/cute/funny/ridiculous to make you laugh and forget all about the dirty diaper that got lost in the couch.


Jeff is currently managing a shop in Ohio that has a quite a few Amish working there. They cannot make enough farming and have therefore entered the mainstream workforce. He says its really weird to walk out on the shop floor and see Amish women in their dresses and bonnets operating drills and power tools. He found out that there was one Amish woman who, after working there for five months, had yet to cash a single paycheck. When human resources spoke to her, she said that she felt that she hadn't worked hard enough to earn it. They reassured her that she had, and implored her to cash her checks. A few months later, they realized that she still had not yet cashed a single check. When they spoke with her, she said that she had worked even harder but still did not feel she had earned it. They had to take her to the bank and pretty much make her cash the checks. Its pretty sad if you ask me. She must never feel that she can be good enough.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Do They Sell Repellent For That??

Something is a muck in the neighborhood. Something in the air. First it was the groundhogs shacking up under our shed. After dealing with so many of them, I determined that there must be something highly attractive under our shed and dubbed it 'the Groundhog Love Shack.' Yet after observing recent (unfortunate) events, I believe it goes beyond the shed. Apparently there is something emanating from our house that attracts amorous behavior. For the last month or two, the neighbor kid's girlfriend has been parking in front of our house. We have been subjected to a few of their extended good bye kisses, if you get my drift. Then, yesterday, I about lost my lunch. I looked out the back window to see the neighbor girl and her shaggy-haired boyfriend enthusiastically locking lips. This went on and off for no fewer than TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!! They conveniently placed themselves behind the shed so they couldn't bee seen from the parents. Who cares if the rest of the world can see you?! At least your parents can't! I actually had to keep James inside til it was over and told the kids not to look out the window. Seriously! Ick. Is there some sort of Teenage Make-Out Repellant we can spray around our yard? I don't want to live with my curtains closed. Jeff's suggestion? To yell 'Woooooooo!!!!!' out the window to cheer them on. He guarantees it will never happen after that.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I'm Still Alive

Long time no bloggy. I've been busy is all I can say. Here are a few of the happenings, in no particular order:

James takes his farmer thing very seriously. He still does his farm chores, morning and night. He picks grass out of the yard for his horses. He gives them water. He goes hunting for our dinner. This was his latest creation: a wagon to take his sister for a ride in. (Note the clean, shiny, lustrous stayed that way for approximately 37 minutes, before the kids woke up from their naps ;)

A over-tired (but still cute) Tyler crying with blackberry juice all over him

This is what I found in my garden yesterday: a whopping 12+ pounds of veggies, and two birds taking a dust bath. I got crazy and ripped out all my squash vines, in part because they needed to be ripped out, but also because I want to cry whenever I see another squash in the garden. I was trying to get the new spot ready for beets, but the kids had other plans. At least they did the tilling for me!

In case you plan on traveling any time soon, bring your own snack. If you are 'lucky' enough to receive a snack in-flight, it will consist of approximately enough peanuts to feed a small mouse. They weren't kidding when they proudly emblazoned 'A Site To See' on the package! That's right, folks, don't blink or you'll miss 'em.

James has been drawing lots of recognizable pictures lately, which is so much fun. This one he drew a few months ago. It is me, with a purse. I traced it onto fabric and embroidered it so we could hang it up. (Don't ask me why I didn't frame the actual drawing...that would have been a lot simpler, wouldn't it?! :)

And last but not least, check out this bad boy! This one was over a pound and the biggest tomato I have ever grown. I think it was two tomatoes grown together. Guess what it tastes like? That's right! A tomato!! Bonus points if you answered correctly.